On Thursday, October 18 at 10:18 am, more than 1.7 million people, including IRIS staff, participated in the first Great Southeast ShakeOut, an earthquake drill to practice how to protect oneself during an actual earthquake. During the drill, staff followed the DROP, COVER, and HOLD ON actions recommended by Federal, State and local emergency management experts and other official preparedness organizations.
While large earthquakes are not as common in the Southeast US as they are in western states, the region does experience earthquakes. Last year's magnitude 5.8 earthquake in Mineral, Virginia, located about 90 miles southwest of Washington, DC, caused significant damage and was felt by more people than any other earthquake in US history. Earthquakes occur without any warning and could happen when you are at home, at work, at school or even on vacation. Like fire drills and other emergency exercises, the Great ShakeOut provides us with an excellent opportunity to practice how to be safer during earthquakes.