Thursday, February 7, 2013

Shake It Up

When you think of earthquakes, the Midwest isn't the first part of the United States that comes to mind.  However, small earthquakes and tremors occur frequently in Missouri, and in 1811–12 the area was rocked by three large earthquakes along the New Madrid fault.  The quakes were so strong that they altered the course of the Mississippi River. Even though New Madrid is about 160 miles southeast of St. Louis many buildings here were severely damaged.

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?


  1. It's good to be ready for anything in my opinion and now that you are!

    Have a wonderful weekend Kathy!

  2. I was "in" the major earthquake in our area in the '80's, near Lake Erie. I was at work, on the phone with my boss in W. Virginia. I thought a freight train was coming through the building. I picture on the wall ahead of me swing. I stood up and tried to tell him what was happening. But I really stood there with my mouth open while he said "What's happening?" over and over. For ten seconds. Then it was over. It certainly wasn't the Big One. It's still coming.

  3. Thanks for this tip Kathy. Sometimes I just think it's our fate whatever will happen to us, but of course it doesn't hurt to be prepared for anything!

  4. Kathy - thanks for sharing this with your readers!