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Hoosiers prepare for earthquake with great shakeout

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Indiana and several other states participated Thursday in the Great Central U.S. Shakeout in order to prepare for the threat of an earthquake in the Midwest.

“Obviously it doesn’t happen in Indiana often,” said Arvin Copeland, emergency response and recovery director for Indiana Department of Homeland Security, “but we are at risk.”

IDHS said more than 530,000 people registered to participate in the 10:15 a.m. earthquake drill.

Participants were taught to simulate a real earthquake response by finding shelter under a safe place, like a desk.  The practice is dubbed, “drop, cover and hold on.”

“You get under your desk so you don’t hit your head and nothing hits you and so you don’t get hurt,” said Evan Frazier, a student taking part in the event.

Copeland said aside from the drill, the biggest challenge is convincing the public of the legitimacy of the earthquake threat to Indiana.

In the winter of 1811 and 1812, three massive earthquakes shook the nearby New Madrid Fault line, causing widespread damage and prompting Congress to pass its first disaster relief legislation.  Experts believe the region is due for another big quake.

“My recommendation is that the threat is real.  And I would encourage them to take it as a real threat and put together an emergency package that would take care of themselves and their families for three days,” Copeland said.  “Things that would help a family sustain themselves for three days: food, water, medicine.  And I always say that no one knows a family more than themselves, the parents, so put together what you think you need to sustain yourselves and your families.”

Find more information on an earthquake preparedness kit and other preventative measures on the FEMA and IDHS websites.