The New Madrid fault is the nation's most active seismic zone east of the Rocky Mountains, so seismologists predict that one day there will be another "Big One". We should know what to do when it happens, and today there was a chance to practice; it was the 2013 Great Central U.S. ShakeOut, which was billed as the largest earthquake drill in Central U.S. history.
The ShakeOut Website had a long list of entities that were participating in the drill-individuals, schools, government offices, healthcare facilities, preparedness organizations, and even animal shelters. The mall I work at wasn't on the list, but I figured it wouldn't hurt to do my own private exercise this morning. As I was setting up the Customer Service desk I looked around for ways to protect myself in an earthquake.
According to ShakeOut, there are three steps to protection: Drop, Cover, and Hold On.
- DROP to the ground
- Take COVER by getting under a sturdy desk or table (or cover your face and head with your arms and crouch in an inside corner of the building if you're not close to something sturdy), and
- HOLD ON until the shaking stops.
The Customer Service desk is made of laminate with a front panel that reaches all the way to the floor and topped with a heavy-duty work surface. There are several cabinets and drawers underneath the work surface, but there's also a large kneehole close to one end that would be just big enough to wedge into. That looked like the safest place to be if the floor started heaving, but if I wasn't at that end of the desk I decided I'd press myself against one of the cabinets and hope for the best.
I know the chances of an earthquake happening while I'm at work are pretty slim, but now I feel like I'm prepared if it does.
Five years ago today: New Thing #27--Say What?