One Week Until the Great Shakeout, FEMA’s New Madrid Seismic Zone Earthquake Drill

(FEMA)  One week from today, at 10:15 am central, millions of Americans across the central U.S. will stop what they’re doing, whether at school, in the office, or at home, to take part in the first-ever public earthquake drill in the New Madrid Seismic Zone region. And that’s not the only “first” – this Great Central U.S. Shakeout is also the first earthquake drill ever to be conducted in multiple U.S. states simultaneously.

Earlier today, I joined several of our partners, Ernie Allen, the President and CEO of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and Dave Maxwell, the head of the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management, on a conference call with reporters to discuss the Shakeout. And just minutes before our call, we learned that 2.6 million Americans have now signed up to drop, take cover, and hold on.

This is exciting news and a great start. But, with 40 million people living in the New Madrid Seismic Zone, we know we can do better. Next Thursday, members from across the entire team will be spanning out to attend Shakeout drills in all 10 states. In fact, many of us here at FEMA’s headquarters, other federal agencies, and even cabinet-level officials, will be joining the many schools, colleges, state and local government agencies, hospitals, child care organizations and countless other groups at their drills.

Will you?

If you haven’t already, sign up to participate today at

And if you already have signed up, keep spreading the word. Get your colleagues, neighbors, friends and family involved.

And if you live in California and want to get a head start on signing up for your 2011 Great California Shakeout this October, you can sign up today at

As I said earlier today, we all know preparedness is a team effort. FEMA is just one part of this team – and the most important member is you. Whether it’s preparing for earthquakes or other disasters, learning how to protect ourselves in the immediate moments of an emergency can make all the difference when the real thing happens.

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