Posted at 8:15 a.m.
In a couple of hours, don’t be surprised if you see folks around you start dropping to the floor, crawling under sturdy desks or tables and covering their heads. It’s all part of the annual Great Southeast ShakeOut earthquake drill that starts at 10:15 a.m.
Practicing these simple steps — drop, cover and hold on — is just one of the ways you can prepare for tremors.
- DROP to the ground (before the shaking drops you).
- Take COVER under a sturdy desk or table if possible, protecting your head and neck.
- HOLD ON to the desk or table until the shaking stops.
Not to Late to Participate
Over 2 million people have registered to participate in this morning’s drill — including over 1.1 million in Virginia alone! But if you haven’t signed up, it’s not too late to do so. Just go to www.shakeout.org/southeast/register to register. And don’t worry if you’ve already got plans for this morning. You can conduct your own earthquake drill any time over the next two weeks to have your participation counted. So register now and drop, cover and hold on at 10:15 a.m.
Earthquakes in Virginia
Virginia experiences earthquakes each year, but only a few are felt. Since 1977, more than 195 quakes have been detected as originating beneath Virginia, according to the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy. Of these, at least 29 were large enough to be felt at the earth’s surface. This averages out to about six earthquakes per year, of which one is felt.
The Aug. 23, 2011 earthquake centered near Mineral, Va., was felt by one-third of the U.S. population from Georgia to Maine and it caused over $200 million in damage. Earthquakes like that one can cause sudden and intense back and forth motions of several feet per second. They can cause the floor or the ground to jerk sideways out from under you, while every unsecured object around you could topple, fall, or become airborne, potentially causing serious injury.
Now is a good time to check your home for unsecured objects that could move, break or fall as an earthquake shakes your home. Pay attention to tall, heavy or expensive objects like bookcases, home electronics, appliances and items hanging from walls, especially over beds, tables, desks or chairs. FEMA and our emergency management office recommends that you secure those items with flexible fasteners, such as nylon straps, or relocate them.
Posted at 11 a.m.
For the fourth year, Virginia will participate in the Great Southeast ShakeOut, a multi-state simultaneous earthquake drill scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 15, at 10:15 a.m.
As of this morning, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management reports that more than 797,000 Virginians have signed up for the earthquake drill. Have you?
Learn more about what to do if there is an earthquake and then practice these easy-to-remember steps during the ShakeOut:
- Hold on!
There are many ways for you, businesses, schools, faith-based organizations, community groups and others to participate in the Southeast ShakeOut and to get prepared for earthquakes. Visit www.shakeout.org/southeast to learn more and register to participate. And if Oct. 15 isn’t a convenient time for your organization to hold an earthquake drill, you can still participate in the ShakeOut — you can hold a drill any time between then and Dec. 31 and still be counted as long as you register your participation.
Posted at 1:30 p.m.
It’s all over social media, and it did over $54 million at the box office in its opening weekend. What are we talking about? The movie “San Andreas,” which chronicles the potential destruction from a magnitude 9 earthquake and subsequent, even larger, aftershocks.
The great thing about the movie — and all of the Hollywood special effects — is that after the movie is over and the popcorn is eaten, you get to go home safe and sound. However, the reality is that an earthquake can very well be a devastating natural disaster.
Reality vs. Hollywood
Prior to the movies’ release, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake last month, followed by a 7.3 magnitude earthquake, rocked the country of Nepal, with casualties in the thousands and tens of thousands left homeless; over 8,000 people have been killed from these combined earthquakes.
You also may remember the 5.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Mineral, Va., in August 2011. It caused significant structural damage from central Virginia to southern Maryland and the Washington D.C. area, to include Fairfax County. The quake, with hundreds of aftershocks, damaged more than 1,400 homes and businesses in Virginia.
Now’s a great time — while the topic is fresh on our minds — to remind ourselves of the proper steps to take during an earthquake: “Drop, Cover and Hold On!”
There are simple actions we all should do to get prepared to survive and recover. Visit www.earthquakecountry.org/sevensteps to learn more.
- Preparedness and San Andreas Movie fact/fiction: www.earthquakecountry.org
- Earthquakes, Megaquakes and the Movies: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/learn/topics/megaquakes.php
- Earthquake Facts and Earthquake Fantasy: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/learn/topics/megaqk_facts_fantasy.php
Posted at 8:30 a.m.
Get ready… it’s almost time!
The Great Southeast ShakeOut earthquake drill begins today at 10:16 a.m. and you can participate where ever you might be. The earthquake drill is a great time to practice the actions you should take during a real earthquake — drop, cover and hold on:
- DROP to the ground (before the earthquake drops you).
- Take COVER by getting under a sturdy desk or table.
- HOLD ON to it until the shaking stops.
Earthquakes happen without warning, and the shaking may be so severe that you cannot run or crawl. So drop, cover and hold one immediately.
Posted at 11:30 a.m.
Why is it important to do a Drop, Cover and Hold On earthquake drill? To react quickly you must practice often. You may only have seconds to protect yourself in an earthquake, before strong shaking knocks you down — or drops something on you.
Wally Simmons, loss prevention manager with our Risk Management Division, says that participation in an earthquake drill is an important personal preparedness activity.
Most earthquake-related injuries and deaths are caused by collapsing walls and roofs, flying glass and falling objects. It is extremely important to move as little as possible to reach an identified place of safety since most injuries occur when people try to move more than a short distance during the shaking.
Look around you now, before an earthquake.
- Identify safe places such as under a sturdy piece of furniture or against an interior wall in your home or office so that when the shaking starts you can respond quickly.
- An immediate response to move to that safe place can save lives.
- And that safe place should be within a few steps to avoid injury from flying debris.
Great Southeast ShakeOut
So when can you hold an earthquake drill?
You can practice your response to an earthquake at any time, but next Thursday, Oct. 16, is the annual Great Southeast ShakeOut earthquake drill, and already over 1.6 million folks have registered to participate — in their home, school or business — at 10:16 a.m.
Simmons offers several suggestions on how you can participate regardless of where you might be.
We can’t allow ourselves to forget that Virginia has felt the impact of a 5.8 magnitude earthquake with hundreds of aftershocks damaging more than 1,400 homes and businesses. The purpose of this exercise is to continue to practice lifesaving responses in the event of another real-world event.
Get more details and register your participation at www.shakeout.org.