October 13, 2020

Earthquake Preparedness: The Great Shakeout - Thursday, 10/15 at 10:15am

Every year, millions of people recognize the third Thursday of October as International Shakeout Day, a time specifically geared toward earthquake preparedness. Activities normally include conducting drills and exercises, and at a minimum, practicing the earthquake safety steps ‘Drop, Cover, and Hold On’ as if experiencing a major earthquake. And, while the Great Shakeout 2020 may be quite different given the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s still on for Thursday, October 15, 2020, at 10:15 AM.

To ensure everyone’s safety, Shakeout.org (the group behind the annual preparedness drill), suggests you take into account the following considerations:

  1. Where will you all be for your drill? Together, or some at work, school or home? Video conferencing is a viable option.
  2. How will you incorporate COVID-19 health and safety guidelines into your earthquake preparedness activities?
  3. Is it better to have everyone participate all at once, or perhaps in staggered (or even repeated) dates and times? Flexibility is key at this unprecedented time.

Speaking of which, did you know that significant earthquakes have occurred in the United States during the global pandemic? Among them, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and its National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI), along with the U.S. Geological Survey report that:

On March 18, 2020, a 5.7 magnitude earthquake hit Salt Lake City, Utah, with an epicenter 6 km (3.7 mi) north-northeast of Magna, Utah. (It was the state’s strongest earthquake since the 1992, and resulted in $48.5M in damages.)

On July 22, 2020, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck off the Alaskan coast, south of the Aleutian Islands, prompting the issuance of a tsunami warning.

On March 31, 2020, a  magnitude 6.5 earthquake struck near Boise, ID, in the Challis National Forest. Seismic instruments indicate the earthquake originated at a depth of 6.2 miles (10 kilometers).

And, on the morning of August 9, 2020, a 5.1 magnitude earthquake struck near Sparta, North Carolina, damaging 465 homes and destroying 60 others.

So, while the COVID-19 pandemic continues, it’s obvious that the earth’s seismic activity does too. Join your community in practicing earthquake safety this month, and if possible, during the 2020 Great Shakeout on Thursday, October 15, 2020. Visit Shakeout’s website to register today.

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