Governor Henry McMaster has proclaimed Earthquake Preparedness Week for 2021 be observed October 17-23 in South Carolina. The S.C. Emergency Management Division encourages everyone to take this opportunity to learn about our state’s seismic fault system and how best to prepare for earthquakes. A highlight of the week will be the Great Southeast ShakeOut on Thursday, October 21 at 10:21 a.m.
More than one million people across eight states and Washington D.C. will take part in the Great SouthEast ShakeOut earthquake safety drill. The regional ShakeOut drill is part of an international effort in which participants simultaneously practice how to stay safe during an earthquake — “Drop, Cover, and Hold On”. For most people, in most situations, this means 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).
While COVID-19 has brought many uncertainties and challenges, you can hold your drill when and where you want. You can choose another date or several dates, and include people in multiple locations (home, work, or school), perhaps through video conferencing.
Schools, businesses, organizations, government agencies, communities, and households are all encouraged to participate. Worldwide, 12 million people are currently expected to participate in Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills next Thursday. Although the primary activity of the ShakeOut is based upon a drill procedure similar to a fire or tornado drill, participants are encouraged to take actions to become better prepared for all disasters. This could include:
- Securing heavy items to prevent them from causing injuries during an earthquake
- Creating an emergency plan and/or updating emergency supply kits
- Talking with their families and neighbors about emergency preparedness
Registration on the Great Southeast ShakeOut site is an important part of this event. This event is open to everyone in South Carolina. To register, go to www.shakeout.org/southeast.
Similar to other emergency preparedness drills sponsored by SCEMD, the signal to begin the drill will be broadcast next Thursday at 10:21 a.m. on NOAA tone-alert weather radio and broadcast media. All media are encouraged to participate in the ShakeOut by broadcasting the drill message issued by SCEMD and the National Weather Service.
There have been nine low-magnitude earthquakes recorded in South Carolina so far this year. Our state experiences approximately 10 to 20 earthquakes a year according to geologists with the College of Charleston. The South Carolina Emergency Manager mobile app has an earthquake map feature that lists recent earthquake activity. It also allows you to sign up to be notified when one occurs.
The epicenter of the largest earthquake ever recorded along the eastern United States seaboard was just outside of Charleston on August 31, 1886. The 7.3 magnitude quake devastated the region and was felt from Chicago to Cuba. According to a study commissioned by SCEMD, an earthquake of similar magnitude occurring today would result in tremendous loss of life, severe property damage and extreme economic loss. Results of the study are detailed in the South Carolina Earthquake Guide.