Missourians practice ‘Drop, Cover, Hold On’ during exercise that draws one-half million participants.

Registration is now open for the 2018 Great Central U. S. “ShakeOut” earthquake drill Thursday, Oct. 18. More than one-half million Missourians participated in last year’s ShakeOut, which teaches people how to protect themselves during an earthquake. More than 300,000 are already registered for this year’s drill. Missouri is one of 14 participating central U.S. states that could be impacted by a New Madrid Seismic Zone earthquake.

“It’s important for Missourians to participate in the ShakeOut drill,” State Emergency Management Agency Director Ernie Rhodes said. “Their safety is our priority and earthquakes occur without warning. It’s essential that people know what to do immediately as an earthquake hits, and that means learning to drop, cover, and hold on.”

At exactly 10:18 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 18, participants 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. Hold on until the shaking stops.

Experts say Drop, Cover, Hold On is the best way to protect yourself from falling debris, which is the most likely cause of injury during an earthquake in developed nations with modern building standards.

To sign up for the ShakeOut, visit www.shakeout.org/centralus. Schools, businesses, community organizations or any other group can register, in addition to families and individuals. Once registered, participants receive regular updates on the drill, as well as information on earthquake preparedness and safety. The ShakeOut website also includes many resources, including manuals, videos, audio drill broadcasts and earthquake scenarios.

The New Madrid Seismic Zone, centered in southeast Missouri, is one of the most active earthquake zones in the country, averaging more than 200 small quakes per year. In 1811 and 1812 this zone produced some of the largest earthquakes in U.S. History. Another major earthquake in this area would be felt throughout Missouri and the Midwest, and cause damage in much of southern and eastern Missouri, including the St. Louis area.

To learn more about earthquakes in Missouri and how to prepare, visit www.sema.dps.mo.gov/earthquake_preparedness.