JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Recent disasters in Morocco and Turkey serve as reminders of the destructive power of earthquakes. It’s also an important reminder that one of the country’s most active earthquake zones is located right here in Missouri. In 1811-12, the New Madrid Seismic Zone (NMSZ), centered in southeast Missouri, produced some of the most powerful earthquakes in U.S. history. Similar earthquakes today would lead to major damage and destruction.
To prepare for any future earthquakes, registration is now open for the 2023 Great Central U. S. ShakeOut earthquake drill on Thursday, Oct. 19. Missouri is one of 14 participating central U.S. states that could be impacted by a NMSZ earthquake.
“Missouri is home to a very large and active seismic zone,” State Emergency Management Agency Director Jim Remillard said. “Earthquakes occur without warning, so it’s important to prepare now. The ShakeOut drill is a great opportunity to practice so you know what to do when the shaking starts.”
At 10:19 a.m. on Oct. 19, hundreds of thousands of Missourians will practice the “Drop, Cover, Hold On” technique:
- DROP to your hands and knees;
- COVER your head and neck with your hands and arms under a table or desk if you can; and
- HOLD ON until the shaking stops.
Studies show that in developed countries with modern structures, falling debris is the most common source of injury in an earthquake. Experts advise that when an earthquake occurs in the U.S., the “Drop, Cover and Hold On” technique is the best protection from falling debris.
To sign up for the ShakeOut, register online at www.shakeout.org/centralus. Schools, businesses, community organizations or any other group can register as well as families and individuals. Once registered, participants will receive regular updates on the drill and information on earthquake preparedness and safety.
The NMSZ is one of the most active earthquake zones in the country, averaging more than 200 small quakes per year. Another major earthquake in this zone would be felt not only in Missouri but throughout the Midwest, damaging much of the southern and eastern parts of the state, including the St. Louis metropolitan area. To learn more about earthquakes in Missouri and how to prepare, please visit sema.dps.mo.gov/earthquake_preparedness.