Great Central U.S. ShakeOut drill planned

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency, IEMA, is encouraging all families, schools, businesses and other organizations to participate in the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut, which is set for 10:15 a.m. on Oct. 15.

IEMA said the goal of this “Drop, Cover and Hold On” drill is to improve preparedness and to draw attention to the earthquake hazards that exist in Illinois, across the country and around the world.

ShakeOut is an international event involving millions of participants from more than 40 states and territories and several countries.  

To date, millions of people have registered worldwide, but so far only 940,000 people have registered in the United States. 

In Illinois, there were 100,694 registered participants as of Sept. 16. 

Local emergency managers throughout the state are hoping to increase that number as the day of the drill approaches.

“Tornadoes and floods can be forecasted to give you advance warning to take cover, but there is no way to predict when an earthquake will occur,” IEMA director Alicia Tate-Nadeau said in a news release. 

“The Great ShakeOut earthquake drill is a quick and easy way for people to practice steps that could save their lives.” 

Earthquakes Can Occur at Any Time

Earthquakes can occur at any time, anywhere and without warning.

IEMA said that “while we often associate earthquakes with the West Coast, quakes can and do occur closer to home.”

Illinois is positioned between two active seismic zones, the New Madrid Seismic Zone and the Wabash Valley Seismic Zone.

Earthquakes were reported in Illinois in 2012 (McHenry County), 2010 (Kane County) and 2008 (Wabash County). 

In fact, an earthquake in any neighboring states could be felt by residents in Illinois.  

IEMA said “this underscores the importance of preparedness. An earthquake can strike when you are at work, at home, at school or while on vacation. When you are asleep in your bed or at an afternoon ballgame.  

“ShakeOut provides the opportunity to practice what you would do in the event of an earthquake.

IEMA says that Shakeout participation is as easy as 1, 2, 3:

1. Register your home, school, business or organization on the ShakeOut website at  

Once registered, your point of contact will receive important information about earthquakes and preparedness.

2. Make a Plan. Build an emergency supply kit for your family. 

Talk to your family members about what you should do in the event of an earthquake.  

Secure heavy items in your home like bookcases, refrigerators, televisions and objects that hang on the wall. Evaluate your home for structural issues.

3. Practice “Drop, Cover and Hold On” on Oct. 15 at 10:15 a.m.

Drop to the ground onto your hands and knees.  

Cover your head and neck with one arm to protect yourself from falling objects.

Hold On to a sturdy table or desk until the shaking is done.

IEMA says “these are the recommended actions to protect yourself during an earthquake.”

Additional earthquake preparedness and mitigation information is available on the following websites: and



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