Great Southeast ShakeOut: South Carolinians encouraged to participate in annual earthquake drill

South Carolina News

Fourth graders Rachel Nelson, right, and Elliot Kelley-Petersen begin to unfurl themselves from under their desks after practicing their their drop, cover and hold-on skills during an annual earthquake drill, the Great ShakeOut, at Genesee Hill Elementary school Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017, in Seattle. The school children were among residents across the state practicing their readiness for an earthquake in the drill, which also included tsunami alerts in coastal areas and testing of emergency radio broadcasts. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – South Carolina’s lead emergency management agency will hold its annual earthquake drill on Thursday.

The Great Southeast ShakeOut, which will take place at 10:21 a.m., is part of a large-scale effort to show people how to stay safe during an earthquake.

Three earthquakes were reported in the Lowcountry on September 27th, including a 3.3 magnitude which was felt by many people in the North Charleston, Goose Creek, and Summerville areas.

There have been nine low-magnitude earthquakes recorded in South Carolina this year. Our state experiences approximately 10 to 20 earthquakes a year according to geologists with the College of Charleston.

A low-end earthquake was reported near Centerville in August and two small quakes registered near Ladson back in July.

Governor Henry McMaster has proclaimed Earthquake Preparedness Week for 2021 to be observed October 17-23 in the state. SCEMD said it’s a good time for everyone to learn about the state`s seismic fault system and how best to prepare for earthquakes.

During Thursday’s drill, participants can practice dropping, covering, and holding on:

DROP where you are, onto your hands and knees;

COVER your head and neck with one arm and hand, as you crawl for shelter under a nearby table or desk;

HOLD ON to your shelter with one hand until shaking stops (remain on your knees and covering your head and neck with your other arm and hand).

Schools, businesses, organizations, government agencies, communities, and households are all encouraged to participate.

While the drill is primarily based on procedures similar to a fire or tornado drill, participants are encouraged to take action 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 and/or updating emergency supply kits

Talking with their families and neighbors about emergency preparedness

Emergency preparedness officials say the epicenter of the largest earthquake ever recorded along the eastern United States seaboard was just outside of Charleston on August 31, 1886. The 7.3 magnitude quake devastated the region and was felt from Chicago to Cuba.

According to a study commissioned by SCEMD, an earthquake of similar magnitude occurring today would result in tremendous loss of life, severe property damage and extreme economic loss.

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