SPRINGFIELD – More than 200 years ago today, two major earthquakes rocked the Central U.S., including much of Illinois.
The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) is marking the 201st anniversary of those earthquakes by encouraging people to register for The Great Central U.S. ShakeOut Feb. 7 at 10:15 a.m.
More than 286,000 Illinois residents have already registered for the multi-state drill, with a total of 1.7 million people registered in the nine participating states.
"History shows us that catastrophic earthquakes can happen in the Central U.S.," said IEMA Director Jonathon Monken. "The ShakeOut drill only takes a minute or two, but the lessons learned could save your life."
The Jan. 23 earthquakes were part of a series of earthquakes in the New Madrid Seismic Zone that began Dec. 16, 1811, and concluded Feb. 7, 1812. These earthquakes, each estimated to be around magnitude 8.0, were among the largest temblors ever recorded in North America.
Participants in the drill will practice the "drop, cover and hold on" technique, which reminds people to "drop" down to the floor, take "cover" under a sturdy desk, table or other furniture, and "hold on" to the furniture item and be prepared to move with it until the shaking ends.
Schools, businesses, government agencies, families and others can register to participate in the drill at www.shakeout.org. Registered participants will receive additional information about the drill and earthquake preparedness.
Additional information about the earthquake risk in Illinois and steps to take before, during and after an earthquake is available at www.Ready.Illinois.gov.