Ohioans are being urged to practice a specific drill to help them deal with possible earthquakes. In an interview with Ohio Public Radio’s Jo Ingles, Tamara McBride of the Ohio Emergency Management Agency explains the drill is part of a national effort.
MCBRIDE: "So this is the Great U.S. ShakeOut, and it’s an earthquake drill that Ohio is participating in, because we are, in Ohio, at risk of earthquakes. We always have been. So in an effort for all hazard preparedness, we want to encourage residents as well as our responders to recognize what they are advised to do in the event an earthquake should occur."
INGLES: "Now most Ohioans, though, when they think of earthquakes, they don’t think of Ohio. They think of California and areas like that. But you say we are really at risk of an earthquake at any time?"
MCBRIDE: "That’s absolutely right. They are most common in California and areas like that, but we have had earthquakes over our history. I know that the largest earthquake that Ohio experienced was a long time ago back in 1812. However, we have since had small earthquakes. I know in my lifetime, we have had a few that have actually taken desks down -- er, have taken books off a shelf, several years ago. Here, even more recently, we experienced an earthquake in 2011, where there were about 19 that were recorded...In Virginia, they had a 5.8 magnitude earthquake and we actually felt the remnants here all the way in Central Ohio."
INGLES: "Have we ever had, at least in recent years, significant damage or loss of life or anything like that from earthquakes?"
MCBRIDE: "We haven’t, but I think that speaks to the fact that we have some good preparedness steps in place. Our building and housing folks, although we are not necessarily geared to having requirements that limit destruction in earthquakes, have been on the proactive side of that. In addition to that, we have been far enough away from the epicenter to not really feel those effects, but that doesn’t mean they won’t come in the future."
INGLES: "So this earthquake drill that you want people to practice, tell me how you want people to go about that."
MCBRIDE: "Sure. There’s a website. It's called shakeout.org/centralus. And individuals, companies and even homeowners go there can go there, and they can learn all about what is advised for people to do if there’s an earthquake. And there are three simple steps, just like it is for most hazards. Drop to the ground, take cover under a sturdy table or desk -- because we know that earthquakes shake things off of shelves and ceiling tiles and things like that. So you want to get underneath something and you want to hold on until the shaking stops. And so they simulate that through an audio recording that takes place on the website. So you can click and you can listen for, during the time period that the recording plays, and at that particular moment, at 10:15 -- and individual companies can simulate this and they play the recording -- you are supposed to stay under your desk for the duration until you come out and assess what’s going on. And see who participated and who didn’t."
The national earthquake drill will take place at 10:15 in the morning on Thursday, Feb. 7.