October 13, 2022

DCI joins over 329,000 Missourians registered for annual statewide ‘ShakeOut’ earthquake drill on Oct. 20

Jefferson City, Mo. – A week before Missouri’s annual statewide earthquake drill, more than 329,000 people are already registered to participate in the Great Central U. S. “ShakeOut” on October 20. A total of nearly 2 million people are registered in the 14 central U.S. states that could be impacted by a New Madrid Seismic Zone earthquake.

The New Madrid Seismic Zone is one of the most active seismic areas in the U.S., averaging 200 small earthquakes each year. In 2021, 49 earthquakes occurred in Missouri, including a magnitude 4.0 quake centered near Poplar Bluff. A major earthquake in this area would damage much of southern and eastern Missouri, including the St. Louis area. Geologists say there’s a 25 to 40 percent chance of another large earthquake occurring in a 50-year time period.

“Earthquakes occur without warning, and if you’ve never experienced one before it can cause confusion or emotional shock,” said Missouri Department of Commerce and Insurance Director Chlora Lindley-Myers. “It’s important to practice what you would do when the shaking starts, so you are prepared to take immediate action if an earthquake occurs.”

At 10:20 a.m. on Thursday, October 20, participants will practice the “Drop, Cover, Hold On” technique to protect themselves. Remember these three simple steps:

  1. DROP to your hands and knees;
  2. COVER your head and neck with your hands and arms under a table or desk if you can; and
  3. HOLD ON until the shaking stops.

Experts say Drop, Cover, Hold On is the best protection from falling debris, which is the most likely cause of injury during an earthquake.

There’s still time to sign up at shakeout.org/centralus/. Once registered, participants will receive details on the drill, as well as information on earthquake preparedness and safety. Individuals, families, businesses, schools and other organizations can register, and, if you can’t participate on October 20, plan another time to practice. The Missouri Department of Commerce and Insurance (DCI) is an annual participating agency.

Like any other disaster, planning prior to an earthquake can help minimize some of the burdens an emergency brings. A discussion with family or friends is a great way to review your emergency plan and confirm you have properly secured items in your household. Missourians are also encouraged to consider earthquake coverage, since it is not included in most standard homeowner or renters’ policies. To learn more about earthquakes in Missouri and how to prepare, visit centralusquake.org.