Responding to Oklahoma’s recent rise in felt earthquakes, on Oct. 19, more than 100 employees of the Community Service Council (CSC) joined more than 75,000 Oklahomans to practice how to “Drop, Cover and Hold On!” during the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut, a multi-state earthquake drill spanning much of the central United States. The drill was the largest earthquake drill ever to take place in the region, which was locally coordinated by FEMA and the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management.
CSC’s decision to participate in the drill was an easy one. “Given the increase in earthquakes felt in Oklahoma recently, we wanted CSC employees and their families to learn more about earthquake safety and what they can do ahead of time to help prevent damage or injury,” said Kevin Burr, Chief Executive Officer, Community Service Council.
According to Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management, Oklahoma has had an increased number of earthquakes in recent years, including the record-breaking 5.6 magnitude earthquake that occurred on Saturday, November 6, 2011. Furthermore, the U.S. Geological Survey forecasts the chance of damaging ground shaking in 2017 in central Oklahoma is similar to that of high-hazard areas of California.
The earthquake drill taught CSC employees how to take necessary precautions, educating staff that the ground shaking during an earthquake is seldom the cause of injury. Most earthquake-related injuries and deaths are caused by collapsing walls and roofs, flying glass and falling objects. The drill included practicing the safety steps of “Drop, Cover and Hold On!”, updating CSC’s emergency plans and supplies to be earthquake-ready, and learning how to secure office and home spaces in order to prevent damage and injuries.
“Ultimately, we hope our employees will share the safety tips they learn from this drill with their family, friends, schools and communities, and help get the word out to all Oklahomans about the importance of earthquake safety,” said Burr.
The U.S. is one of 46 countries across the world participating in the Great Shakeout Earthquake Drill, an international effort which started in California to help people prepare to survive and recover quickly from big earthquakes – wherever they live, work or travel. More than 52 million people worldwide and more than 18 million people in the U.S. are registered to participate in ShakeOut earthquake drills in 2017.