On November 17, 2021 southeast Missouri experienced its largest earthquake in 30 years.

The magnitude 4.0 quake was centered near Poplar Bluff and was felt throughout the region, St. Louis and seven other states. It served as a reminder of the power of the New Madrid Seismic Zone, one of the country’s most active earthquake zones, which is centered in the Missouri Bootheel.

To prepare for future earthquakes, registration is now open for the 2022 Great Central U. S. “ShakeOut” earthquake drill on Oct. 20. Missouri is one of 14 participating central U.S. states that could be impacted by a New Madrid Seismic Zone earthquake.

“Last year’s 4.0 earthquake reminded us that Missouri is home to a large and active seismic zone,” said State Emergency Management Agency Director Jim Remillard. “Earthquakes occur without warning, so it’s important to participate in the ShakeOut drill and practice now, so you know exactly what to do when an earthquake occurs.”

At 10:20 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 20, hundreds of thousands of Missourians will practice the “Drop, Cover, Hold On” technique:

*DROP to your hands and knees;
*COVER your head and neck with your hands and arms under a table or desk if you can; and
*HOLD ON until the shaking stops.

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Studies show that in developed countries with modern structures, falling debris is the most common source of injuries in an earthquake. Experts advise that when an earthquake occurs in the U.S., dropping, covering and holding on is the best way to protect yourself from falling debris.

To sign up for the ShakeOut, visit www.shakeout.org/centralus. Schools, businesses, community organizations or any other group can register, in addition to families and individuals. Once registered, participants receive regular updates on the drill, as well as information on earthquake preparedness and safety. More than 275,000 people in Missouri are already registered to participate in the drill.

The New Madrid Seismic Zone, centered in southeast Missouri, is one of the most active earthquake zones in the country, averaging more than 200 small quakes per year. In 1811 and 1812, this zone produced some of the largest earthquakes in U.S. history. A major earthquake in this area would be felt not only in Missouri, but throughout the Midwest, and could cause widespread damage in southern and eastern Missouri, including the St. Louis area.

To learn more about earthquakes in Missouri and how to prepare, visit www.sema.dps.mo.gov/earthquake_preparedness.

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