Annual Great Central U.S. Shakeout Set For October 15, 2020

All residents and businesses in the City of St. Louis encouraged participate

October 14, 2020 | 2 min reading time

This article is 3 years old. It was published on October 14, 2020.

CITY, St. Louis — Following FEMA’s “National Preparedness Month” in September, individuals and communities throughout St. Louis will participate in the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut earthquake drill. Held annually on the third Thursday of October, the International ShakeOut Day is set for Thursday, October 15, 2020. During the self-led drill, participants practice how to “Drop, Cover, and Hold On”. Endorsed by emergency officials and first responders, the safe response to an earthquake is to:

DROP where you are, onto your hands and knees. This position protects you from being
knocked down and also allows you to stay low and crawl to shelter if nearby.

COVER your head and neck with one arm and hand

  • If a sturdy table or desk is nearby, crawl underneath it for shelter
  • If no shelter is nearby, crawl next to an interior wall (away from windows)
  • Stay on your knees; bend over to protect vital organs

HOLD ON until shaking stops

  • Under shelter: hold on to it with one hand; be ready to move with your shelter if it shifts
  • No shelter: hold on to your head and neck with both arms and hands.

The New Madrid seismic zone has experienced numerous earthquakes since the major shocks that shook the region in 1811-1812. Residents in the central U.S. are not immune to earthquakes—the region is home to several active seismic zones capable of producing damaging earthquakes, including the New Madrid and Wabash Valley Seismic Zones.

According to Deputy Commissioner Sarah Gamblin-Luig of the City's Emergency Management Agency, “While damaging earthquakes here may be fewer in number when compared to other areas, they can occur at any time wherever we work, live, or travel within the St. Louis area and beyond. We encourage everyone to know how to protect themselves from an earthquake.”

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 join the drill by registering to participate Once registered, participants receive regular information on how to plan their drill and become better prepared for
earthquakes and other disasters.

To date, 2.7 million people are registered to participate in this regional event, however, Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills will also occur throughout the nation and in several countries worldwide. More than 35 million people around the globe are expected to participate; and in addition to safety drills, many participants take extra steps to become more prepared for earthquakes or
other disasters.

The Great Central U.S. ShakeOut is coordinated by the City of St. Louis Emergency Management Agency, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Geological Survey, and dozens of other
partners. ShakeOut is coordinated globally by the Southern California Earthquake Center at the University of Southern California.

For additional information on preparing for emergencies visit:

Visit the City of St. Louis Emergency Management’s social media pages for more information on the ShakeOut Drill: and

  • Department:
    City Emergency Management Agency
  • Topic:

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