Md. to Participate in Great ShakeOut Drill Thursday - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Md. to Participate in Great ShakeOut Drill Thursday

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REISTERSTOWN, Md.- Maryland schools and businesses are joining other mid-Atlantic and southeastern states in participating in the Great SouthEast ShakeOut this week to make sure they are prepared for a future earthquake.

Held annually on the third Thursday of October, the ShakeOut is set for this Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014 at 10:16 a.m.

When the 5.8 magnitude earthquake hit the mid-Atlantic region on Aug. 23, 2011, many people didn't know how to react. Because earthquakes of that strength are so unusual in the eastern United States, the reaction was much different that it would have been in more quake-prone areas such as California.

Instead of crouching under a desk or sturdy table, many people evacuated their homes or workplaces, unaware of the potential injury from falling debris. While this earthquake was not strong enough to cause significant damage to the outside of buildings in Maryland, an even slightly stronger tremor could have caused bricks and other exterior materials to become dangerous projectiles.

During the self-led drill, Maryland's Emergency Management Agency says participants will practice how to "Drop, Cover, and Hold On".  The agency says according to emergency officials and first responders, the safe response to an earthquake is to:
  • DROP  to the ground
  • Take COVER under a sturdy table or desk if possible, protecting your head and neck
  • HOLD ON until the shaking stops
"Thankfully, we don't have much experience with strong earthquakes in Maryland," said Ken Mallete, executive director of the Maryland Emergency Management Agency. "But we need to make sure we know what to when a strong earthquake does hit our area."

The agency says the ShakeOut is free and open-to-the-public, and participants include individuals, schools, businesses, local and state government agencies, and many other groups.  To take part in the ShakeOut, individuals and organizations are asked to sign up to participate in the drill by visiting www.shakeout.org. Once registered, the Agency says participants will receive regular information on how to plan their drill and become better prepared for earthquakes and other disasters.

To date, the agency says more than 115,000 people are registered to participate in Maryland. According to the Great Southeast ShakeOut website, more than 1.2 million people are registered to participate in Virginia, and only 17 people are registered in Delaware. Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills will occur nationwide in more than 45 states and territories and more than 15 million people are expected to participate.

The Great SouthEast ShakeOut is being coordinated in the state by Maryland Emergency Management Agency in conjunction with the Central U.S. Earthquake Consortium and its Member and Associate States, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Geological Survey, and dozens of other partners.
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