Illinois prepares for earthquake preparedness drill

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By Kevin Bessler | The Center Square

(The Center Square) – Illinoisans are being asked to participate in the world’s largest earthquake drill next week.

“Shakeout” is an international earthquake preparedness drill that will take place at 10:15 a.m. Oct. 15. The international event involves millions of participants from more than 40 states and several countries. The goal of the “Drop, Cover and Hold On” drill is to draw attention to the earthquake hazards that exist in Illinois and across the globe.

In Illinois, more than 50,000 residents have registered within the last two weeks. To date, more than 150,000 people have pledged to participate in the annual exercise.

“Fire drills and tornado drills are common practices in schools and businesses, but not everyone knows what they should do in the event of an earthquake,” said Illinois Emergency Management Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau. “We cannot predict when or where the next devastating earthquake will occur, but we can help people learn how to protect themselves and reduce damage to their homes.”

Illinois is positioned between two active seismic zones, the New Madrid Fault in Missouri and the Wabash Valley seismic zone, which is located on the Illinois-Indiana border.

The most recent measurable earthquake in Illinois was in 2012 near Woodstock in McHenry County. Previously there was an earthquake in 2010 in Kane County, in 2008 in Wabash County, and a 4.2 magnitude tremor in 2004 near Ottawa.

“We can predict when a tornado is going to occur, we can see flooding coming, but you can’t predict when an earthquake will occur,” IEMA spokesperson Rebecca Clark said. “It is important that everyone realizes how to drop, cover and hold on to minimize the risk of injuries or death.”

To register a home, school, business or organization, go to www.shakeout.org/centralus.

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