Great SouthEast ShakeOut slated today

PARKERSBURG – West Virginia is among states in the region participating in the Great SouthEast ShakeOut at 10:17 a.m. today.

The ShakeOut is a regional earthquake drill in which participants simultaneously practice the recommended action during an earthquake: drop, cover and hold on.

This is the first year the state is participating, said Lawrence Messina, communications director for the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety. It started last year and the agency is hoping to increase awareness for the drill in 2014, he said.

Few county agencies are participating in West Virginia and are mostly in the Eastern Panhandle, he said.

Schools, businesses, organizations, government agencies and households are encouraged to participate in the activity. Nationwide, more than 18 million people in 43 states and territories are expected to participate in Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills.

The ShakeOut follows the second anniversary of the Aug. 23, 2011, Mineral, Va., earthquake that caused damage in that region and was felt by 100 million people.

While the primary activity of the ShakeOut is based upon a drill procedure that is similar to a fire or tornado drill, participants are encouraged to take actions to become better prepared for all disasters. This could include:

* Securing heavy items to prevent them from causing injuries during an earthquake.

* Creating an emergency plan.

* Updating emergency supply kits.

* Talking with families and neighbors about emergency preparedness.

For more information, go to www.shakeout.org/southeast to register to participate in the drill. Available resources on the website include drill manuals, videos, audio drill broadcasts and earthquake scenarios.

The Great SouthEast ShakeOut is coordinated by the Central U.S. Earthquake Consortium and officials in Delaware, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, the District of Columbia, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Geological Survey, among others.

The phone number of the consortium is 901-544-3570.