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Similar to the “stop, drop and roll” during a fire drill, Kentuckians are encouraged to “drop, cover and hold on” today as part of a region-wide effort to rehearse what to do in the event of an earthquake.
The Great Central U.S. ShakeOut is an annual earthquake drill organized by the Central U.S. Earthquake Consortium, which covers Kentucky, Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee, according to the release.
The drill is observed at 11:15 a.m. EST, according to Kentucky Emergency Management. There is not a siren to warn participants, who are instructed to drop to the ground, take cover under a desk and hold on as if an earthquake were occurring.
Today marks the 201st anniversary of the last in a series of major earthquakes in 1811-1812 near the New Madrid fault. The seismic activity devastated much of the central United States, including parts of Kentucky.
Doug Finlay, deputy director of Hardin County Emergency Management, said the drill mainly is directed toward schools. KEM has sent information to all schools in the state encouraging them to participate.
According to the event’s website, 523,275 participants have registered in Kentucky. Of those, 490,968 are affiliated with K-12 schools and districts, which accounts for nearly 94 percent of participants.
John Wright, spokesman for Hardin County Schools, said policy requires the district to conduct earthquake drills at the beginning of the school year and again in March. According to Wright, HCS is encouraging its principals to participate in today’s drill, which would replace the drill in March.
Finlay and Wright said earthquakes cannot be forecasted, so it is best to be prepared.
“Anything we can do to protect the kids, we’re going to do it,” Wright said.
Sarah Bennett can be reached at (270) 505-1750 or email@example.com.