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Monday, May 2, 2016

Sharp County to take part in earthquake drill

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Tammy Curtis

Staff Writer

The Great Central United States Shake Out is a massive earthquake drill to prepare students, government, cities and individuals in the event of an earthquake.

Living near the New Madrid fault line, the question to many isn't "if," it is "when" the "Big One" will hit.

Schools participate often in fire and tornado drills, even drills for terrorist acts, but the threat of a large earthquake has been overlooked.

Schools and city officials in the area will all participate with other states in the largest earthquake drill in the United States, beginning at 10:15 a.m. on April 28. Highland Schools will be making the drill fun, with activities and sound effects during the drill. They will also be giving away shakes from Sonic and McDonalds in Hardy in honor of the Shake Out.

Everyone is encouraged to participate in this drill. City officials will be surveying bridges and roads for "damage." The goal is for the drill to be as realistic as possible. According to Sharp County Fire Coordinator Dick Lloyd, the county could endure some bridges becoming unstable or dangerous and many roads could sustain damage in the event of a strong earthquake.

With more than 40 million people living and working in the central United States, a major earthquake could cause unprecedented disruption and devastation.

What we do now, before a big earthquake, will determine what our lives will be like afterwards. With earthquakes an inevitable part of the future, it stands to reason that officials must act quickly to ensure that disasters do not become catastrophies.

The Shake Out will involve more than 1 million people through a broad‐based outreach program, a partnership with the media and public advocacy by hundreds of partners.

This event is being organized by the Central United States Earthquake Consortium and the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Tennessee will be participating.

The Shake Out will be centered around a simultaneous Drop, Cover, and Hold On drill that will be held at 10:15 a.m. on April 28. Drop, Cover, and Hold On is the recommended action to take in the event of an earthquake.

The official Web site, www.shakeout.org/centralus, is where groups and organizations can register and take part in the drill. A key aspect of the Shake Out is the integration of earthquake research and the lessons learned from social science research about why people get prepared for disasters. The result is a "teachable moment" on par with having an actual earthquake (often followed by increased interest in getting ready for earthquakes). The Shake Out creates the sense of urgency that is needed for people, organizations, and communities to get prepared, to practice what to do to be safe, and to learn what plans need to be improved. Not just any drill will accomplish this; it needs to be big.

It must inspire communities to come together. It must involve children at school and parents at work, prompting conversations at home. It must allow every organization, city, etc., to make it their own event.

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