NORTH LITTLE ROCK— This week thousands of Arkansans will participate in the Great Central United States ShakeOut Earthquake Drill. This year’s annual drill is set for Thursday, Oct. 17 at 10:17 a.m. The theme for this year’s drill is to “ShakeOut, Don’t Freak Out.”

The Arkansas Department of Emergency Management said more than 192,000 of Arkansans were registered for the 2019 ShakeOut Drill as of Tuesday afternoon. Last year more than 208,000 Arkansans participated.

Held annually on the third Thursday of October, the ShakeOut Drill is a “day of action” providing an opportunity for people to take extra steps to become more prepared for earthquakes and other disasters. The self-led drill encourages participants to practice how to “Drop, Cover and Hold On”. For most people, in most situations the recommended earthquake safety action is to:

• DROP where you are, onto your hands and knees;

• COVER your head and neck with one arm and hand, as you crawl for shelter under a nearby table or desk;

• HOLD ON to your shelter with one hand until shaking stops (remain on your knees and covering your head and neck with your other arm and hand).

Citizens in Arkansas are not immune to earthquakes — the state is home to several active seismic zones capable of producing damaging earthquakes, including the New Madrid seismic zone.

The ShakeOut is free and open-to-the-public, and participants include individuals, schools, businesses, local and state government agencies. To take part in the ShakeOut, individuals and organizations are asked to join the drill by registering to participate by visiting www.shakeout.org to register. Once registered, participants receive regular information on how to plan their drill and become better prepared for earthquakes and other disasters.

It’s important to remember that even though the official drill is being held this Thursday, there is no wrong time, nor is it too late to become more prepared, the ADEM said in a statement. If you can’t participate this Thursday, go ahead and register and schedule a drill for yourself, your workplace or any other type of organization any day of the year.

You can also share photos on social media of you and your organization participating in the drill using hashtags such as #ShakeOut2019, #ShowOffYourShakeOut, #ShakeOutSelfie and #ArPrepares.

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