Ohioans are being urged to practice a specific drill to help them deal with possible earthquakes.
In an interview with Ohio Public Radio’s Jo Ingles, Tamara McBride of the Ohio Emergency Management Agency explains the Feb. 7 drill is part of a national effort to help raise awareness of this situation.
McBride – So this is the great U.S. Shakeout and it’s an earthquake drill that Ohio is participating in because we are at risk of earthquakes. We always have been. So in an effort for all hazard preparedness, we want to encourage residents as well as responders to recognized what they should do if an earthquake occurs.
Ingles – Now most Ohioans, though, when they think of earthquakes, they don’t think of Ohio. They think of California and areas like that but you say we are really at risk of an earthquake at any time?
McBride – That’s correct. They are most common in California and areas like that but we have had earthquakes over our history. I know that the largest earthquake Ohio has experienced was back in 1812. However, we have since had small earthquakes. I know in my lifetime, we have had some that have taken books off a shelf. Here, even more recently, in 2011, we experienced an earthquake where there were about 19 that were recorded. In Virginia, they had a 5.8 magnitude earthquake and we felt the remnants here in Central Ohio.
Ingles – Have we ever had significant damage or loss of life due to earthquakes?
McBride – We haven’t but I think that speaks to the fact that we have good preparedness in place. Our building and housing folks have been on the proactive side of that. In addition, we have been far enough away from the epicenter to not feel those effects but that doesn’t mean they won’t come in the future.
Ingles – So this earthquake drill that you want people to practice….tell me how you want people to go about that.
McBride – Sure. There’s a website. Shakeout dot org. Homeowners and companies can go there to learn about what is advised for people to do if there’s an earthquake. 3 simple steps. Drop to the ground, take cover under a sturdy table or desk and hold on until the shaking stops. And so they simulate that on the website so you can click and listen at the time the particular recording plays. And you are supposed to stay under your desk and assess what’s going on. Then you can see who participated and who didn’t.
The national earthquake drill will take place at 10:15 a.m. on Thursday February 7th.