LOS ANGELES, Sept. 19, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills encourage everyone to come together and take action now to improve how well they can respond to the next disaster. National Preparedness Month this September can serve as a lead-up to the International ShakeOut Day, which is always on the third Thursday of October (this year: 10/20, though any earthquake drill held throughout the year can count as participation). Participation in ShakeOut is a commitment to practicing Drop, Cover, and Hold On for one minute no matter where you are. All participants are encouraged to register at ShakeOut.org so they can be listed and counted in their community. Last year, over 43.5 million people around the world participated in Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills.
National Preparedness Month is an opportune time for individuals, families, schools, colleges, businesses, houses of worship, and other sectors to prepare to survive and recover from the disasters in our future. The recent, devastating floods in Louisiana; wildfires in California; significant earthquakes in Oklahoma; and storms and tornadoes throughout the Midwest and South are reminders that we live on a dynamic planet. Yet, disasters do not have to be catastrophes: we're all in this together.
"Earthquakes can happen at any time of the day and during any season," FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate said. "We all should know what to do before, during, and after an earthquake, regardless of where we live. This year's Great ShakeOut drill offers an important opportunity to practice preparedness, and we encourage communities across the nation to join in so we're ready when disaster strikes."
The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that one in two Americans are exposed to potentially damaging shaking where they live. In the 1994 magnitude 6.7 Northridge earthquake, most injuries were caused by people stepping on fallen or broken objects that were not properly secured. During the month of September, ShakeOut participants can follow the "Seven Steps to Earthquake Safety" (EarthquakeCountry.org/sevensteps) to secure heavy furniture and valuables; retrofit their property; consider earthquake insurance; organize disaster supplies; and develop a plan to communicate with family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. ShakeOut organizers encourage these steps as a way to expand beyond the base commitment of holding a Drop, Cover, and Hold On drill, so that participants can be as best prepared for earthquakes as possible.
Organizations also need to prepare in advance for potential earthquake damage. For those in charge of organizations, ResilientWorkplace.org houses several resources for developing a strong business continuity plan, preventing local, state, and national economies from grinding to a halt due to a disaster. International ShakeOut Day on October 20 is an opportunity to put plans to the test by practicing Drop, Cover, and Hold On and drilling other aspects of continuity plans.
"Social science research shows that when people see others taking action, they are more likely to take action too," says Mark Benthien, Outreach Director for the Southern California Earthquake Center. "National Preparedness Month and Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills are ways for all Americans to come together, inspire action, and improve resilience."
Participants register and find resources for their drills at ShakeOut.org, a website managed by the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC) at the University of Southern California. With funding from the National Science Foundation and United States Geological Survey, SCEC coordinates earth science research at more than 60 universities. With additional funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, SCEC's Communication, Education, and Outreach program coordinates Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills globally along with regional leaders worldwide, which includes nearly every U.S. state and territory.
Contact: Jason Ballmann
Southern California Earthquake Center
213.740.1560 | firstname.lastname@example.org
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SOURCE Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills