While similar "ShakeOut" earthquake drills are frequently conducted
by California and other states on an individual basis, this is the
first multistate earthquake drill, and the first drill in the
central U.S., where many states would be affected if a major
earthquake hit the New Madrid Seismic Zone. Secretaries Duncan and
Napolitano made their call to K-12 schools, colleges and
universities in a letter sent Tuesday.
"As the recent earthquakes in American Samoa, Haiti, New Zealand,
Chile and now Japan remind us, earthquakes can strike at any time,"
Napolitano said. "It's critical that all members of the nation's
emergency management team -- including the federal government,
state, local and tribal officials, the private sector and the public
-- are prepared. Learning how to protect yourself and your loved
ones in the event of an earthquake or other disaster is a vital life
skill -- and we look forward to working with schools, colleges and
our other partners to strengthen the resiliency of communities
across the central United States."
"As adults, it's our responsibility to make sure students are
prepared, both at home and in school, for a possible emergency,"
Duncan said. "The ShakeOut drill is an important exercise for
parents, students, teachers and schools leaders across the country,
and I hope it encourages more schools to develop, implement and
evaluate emergency plans."
As the secretaries highlight in their letter, participating in the
ShakeOut drill is simple -- and anyone can participate. Schools and
colleges can sign up at
which has instructions and resources to support educators, community
groups and individuals interested in conducting the ShakeOut.
In addition, the Department of Education's Readiness and Emergency
Management for Schools Technical Assistance Center provides guidance
to help schools and communities plan for, respond to and recover
from a disaster such as an earthquake. For more information, visit
Participating states include Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois,
Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina
and Tennessee. Indiana conducted its ShakeOut drill yesterday.
The full text of the Napolitano and Duncan's letter to K-12 schools,
colleges and universities is below.
Recent events throughout the world –– a powerful earthquake in
Japan, the fifth largest in recorded history, as well as devastating
earthquakes in New Zealand and Haiti –– serve as a reminder that
earthquakes can happen at any time and can have disastrous and
far-reaching effects. The 2011 Great Central U.S. ShakeOut on April
28, 2011, provides a timely and relevant opportunity for us all to
put this reminder into practice by exercising what to do when
an earthquake strikes. The first ShakeOut in the central U.S. also
coincides with the bicentennial anniversary of the great New Madrid
earthquakes of 1811-1812. For this drill, the federal government and
the New Madrid Seismic Zone (NMSZ) states and local governments will
hold a coordinated exercise to prepare for a major NMSZ earthquake.
We would like to encourage you and your schools to join more
than one million participants across 11 states and hundreds of
schools in this first-of-its-kind, multistate earthquake drill.
The drill is now less than a month away, and to date, more than 2.3
million people are registered to participate. With 40 million
residents in the NMSZ region, we encourage as many schools as
possible to join the ShakeOut.
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The "Great Central U.S. ShakeOut" drill will be conducted at 10:15
a.m. CT on April 28, 2011. Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois,
Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina,
and Tennessee would be impacted directly or indirectly by a New
Madrid seismic event, and thus are participating in the event.
We recently sat down to discuss the importance of events like
the ShakeOut, and how critical this is for school preparedness. The
ShakeOut has been organized to increase awareness of the "Drop,
Cover, Hold On" method of protecting ourselves during an earthquake.
A major NMSZ earthquake would have a devastating impact on much of
the Midwest. The purpose of the ShakeOut is to help individuals and
organizations be better prepared for major earthquakes and to
practice how to protect ourselves when they happen.
To make participation in the ShakeOut drill as simple as possible,
the Central United States Earthquake Consortium, along with its
partners, has put together a Web page focused on the drill,
with instructions on participating as well as resources to support
you through the ShakeOut. In addition, the Department of Education's
Readiness and Emergency Management for
Schools Technical Assistance Center
provides and disseminates information about emergency management to
help schools, school districts, and institutions of higher education
learn more about developing, implementing, and evaluating crisis
plans. Additional information regarding how schools and communities
can plan for, respond to and recover from a disaster, such as an
earthquake, can be found online at http://rems.ed.gov.
All of our citizens, and especially our students, can play a
critical role in helping our nation become well-prepared. Giving our
next generation of leaders the tools to help teach their friends,
families, and peers how to be ready for earthquakes will help our
entire country become more resilient in the face of a disaster.
If you have any questions regarding the ShakeOut, please contact
Brian Blake, Program Coordinator for the Central U.S. Earthquake
Consortium, at firstname.lastname@example.org
or Regina Moran at Regina.Moran@dhs.gov.
U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security
U.S. Secretary of Education
[Text from file received from the
Department of Homeland Security]