RELEASE DATE: 1/31/2012
ADEM Public Information: (501) 683-6700


Central U.S. to ShakeOut in One Week

North Little Rock, Ark - On February 7, 2012 at 10:15AM CST, more than two million people across nine states are expected to take part in the second Great Central U.S. ShakeOut. The ShakeOut is an annual, region-wide earthquake drill in which participants will simultaneously practice the recommended action during an earthquake which is Drop, Cover and Hold-On:

  • DROP to the ground
  • Take COVER by getting under a sturdy desk or table, and
  • HOLD-ON to it until the shaking stops

Scientists estimate that there is a 25-40% probability of a damaging earthquake occurring in the central U.S. within the next 50 years. The ShakeOut is designed to help individuals and communities in the region get ready for these earthquakes,practice how to protect themselves, and to prevent disasters from becoming catastrophes. Currently, states participating in the ShakeOut include Alabama,Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Tennessee.These states will conduct their Drop, Cover and Hold-On drill in exactly one week from today.

In 2011, the first annual ShakeOut was held in the region, with more than three million registered participants in nearly 10,000 drill locations. This historic event was recently honored with national recognition as a recipient of the FEMA2011 Individual and Community Preparedness Awards program for “Outstanding Exercise, Drill, or Event” in Washington D.C. in January of this year. 

The ShakeOut is free and open to the public, and all who are interested in disaster preparedness are encouraged to participate!

February7 is also the 200th anniversary of the last of the 1811-12 New Madrid Seismic Zone earthquakes, which were a series of at least three M7-8.0 earthquakes that struck the region in the winter of 1811-12.  200 years ago, the region was sparsely populated and there was very little infrastructure. Centered in northeastern Arkansas and the Bootheel of Missouri, the earthquakes of 1811-12 destroyed the town of New Madrid, Missouri, created Reelfoot Lake in northwest Tennessee, and were felt as far away as Washington, D.C. Were they to happen today,earthquakes of the same magnitude would cause widespread damage and disruption to the nation’s population, economy, and built environment.

Interested citizens, schools, communities, businesses, etc. are encouraged to visit to pledge their participation in the drill. On the website, many resources are available for participants to use during their drills including drill manuals, videos, audio drill broadcasts, earthquake scenarios, and more.

The Great Central U.S. ShakeOut is being coordinated by the Central US Earthquake Consortium and its Member and Associate States, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Geological Survey and dozens of other partners.


The Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM) is the state's homeland security and preparedness agency. The agency works to identify and lessen the effects of emergencies, disasters and threats to Arkansas by developing effective prevention, preparedness, mitigation, response and recovery actions for all disasters and emergencies. For additional information, contact ADEM at (501) 683-6700.