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MEMA prepares for Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drill on Thursday

BALTIMORE, MD—The Maryland Emergency Management Agency is encouraging Maryland residents to participate in the The Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drill occurring across the country on October 15 at 10:15 a.m. Although the current pandemic has changed the way many Marylanders accomplish day-to-day activities, citizens can still participate in the Great Southeast ShakeOut 2020 earthquake drill from home, work, or school.

“Even though many of us are focused on the continuing pandemic, we still need to remain prepared for other hazards, such as earthquakes,” said MEMA Executive Director Russ Strickland. “Many of us are working or going to school remotely, so it makes sense to practice what to do if an earthquake hits when we are at home.”

Powerful earthquakes are not common in the Mid-Atlantic Region, but the August 23, 2011 tremor near Mineral, VA, reminded us that we are not immune from the effects of an earthquake. That is why MEMA is joining the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to promote Earthquake Preparedness this month and is encouraging everyone to take part in the drill.

One of the most frightening and destructive phenomena of nature is a severe earthquake and its terrible after effects. Earthquakes can happen at any time of the year and at any time during the day. You could be at work, school, or at home. It is impossible to predict when or where an earthquake will occur, so it is important that you and your family are prepared ahead of time.

In the Mid-Atlantic region, earthquakes typically do not cause major structural damage, so evacuating a building is not recommended. You should get under a sturdy table or other piece of furniture to protect yourself from falling debris.

On October 15 at 10:15 a.m. you are asked to drop, cover, and hold on for earthquake preparedness.

  • DROP to the ground (before the earthquake drops you!),
  • Take COVER by getting under a sturdy desk or table, and
  • HOLD ON to it until the shaking stops.

This year’s Great Shakeout comes with it some considerations related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic including:

  • Where will you all be for your drill?
  • Will your family be together, or some at work, school or home? (Consider video-conferencing!)
  • How will you incorporate COVID-19 health and safety guidelines into your activity?
  • Is it better to have everyone participate all at once, or perhaps in staggered (or even repeated) dates and times?

For more information about the ShakeOut Drill during a pandemic, please visit


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