The State Emergency Management Agency is encouraging schools, families and businesses to participate in a statewide earthquake drill this week.

The third annual ‘Great Central U.S. ShakeOut’ presented by the State Emergency Management Agency is designed for Missourians to become educated about earthquakes in the event a major one might occur in the state by taking a few simple steps to be prepared.

Earthquake Program manager Steve Besemer says the idea for an earthquake drill was developed and implemented from the state of California, where they are no strangers to earthquakes. “It’s kind of an awareness and simple preparedness drill for people to be able to practice the correct steps for them to take in the event if they ever feel like they’re in an earthquake,” he says. “It’s basically three simple steps- it’s drop, cover, and hold on.”

He says by having the annual, statewide drill, it gives people the opportunity to practice in their homes and their businesses. “We did it two years ago in April of 2011, and that was the first time we did it, because it was right before our large New Madrid seismic zone earthquake exercise which was large,” he says.

The drill is expected to attract more than 400,000 Missourians to participate. It’s unknown when the next major earthquake will occur in Missouri, but can occur at any time. Small earthquakes and tremors occur frequently in Missouri, and though there has not been a major earthquake in the state in 200 years, it could occur at any time.



AUDIO: Mary Farucci reports. (:58)