By Craig Fugate, FEMA Administrator
For months, FEMA has been working closely with 11 of our state partners and many other members of the team to get the word out about the Great Central U.S. Shakeout – the first-ever multi-state public earthquake drill taking place next Thursday, April 28 at 10:15 am central time.
And as of today, we’re less than two weeks away – which means it’s time for all of us, across the entire team, to get involved and do our part to get the word out. Why?
The recent – and tragic - earthquakes we’ve seen from Japan, the fifth largest earthquake in recorded history, to the earthquakes that struck New Zealand, Chile, Haiti and our own U.S. territory of American Samoa, that destructive disasters can hit us anytime, anywhere, and often without any warning.
And none of us – no matter where we live – are immune. In fact, earthquake activity has been felt in all fifty states. Like it or not, we simply don’t have the luxury of thinking “this couldn’t happen here.”
While we can’t prevent earthquakes or other disasters, we can take important steps to prepare for them. One way you can prepare is to join more than two million people who are participating in The Great Central U.S. ShakeOut, the largest earthquake preparedness event in central U.S. history. Eleven states are participating in the ShakeOut, including Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Tennessee; and so far, over 2.2 million people have signed up.
It’s a great start, but with 40 million people living in the central U.S. region, we know we can do even better.
Drills like the Shakeout are among the easiest and most cost-effective ways individuals and communities can learn how to protect themselves if an earthquake strikes. It’s easy to sign up; it’s free; and anyone can participate from anywhere – whether you are at school, at the office, at home, on the soccer field, or even visiting the doctor. All you have to do is sign-up here http://www.shakeout.org/centralus/ to get simple instructions on how to participate.
So we’re challenging all of you, our partners on the team, to join us in The Great American ShakeOut. Get involved; and be prepared!
If you’re a Member of Congress in one of the 11 central U.S. states participating in the ShakeOut, help us get the word out to your constituents. Make plans to participate in an event or do a drill with your congressional office. Post ShakeOut information, including widgets, on your website.
If you’re a school, college or university, plan a "shakeout" drill on your campus. Already, over 1,526 schools and 62 colleges and universities are participating.
If you own, manage or work at a business, get your staff and coworkers involved. Already, over 200 businesses and 290 non-profits have signed up, and that doesn’t include the many state and local government agencies that are planning to do drills.
At FEMA – we’ll be doing our part, in partnership with our regional offices in the central U.S., to participate in drills on April 28. We’ll be sharing more about our plans on the FEMA blog, so stay tuned.
Learn more about how to participate here: http://www.shakeout.org/centralus.
And if you’re already participating, let us know what you’re planning. Leave a comment below or tweet me @craigatfema.