SPRINGFIELD - February is Earthquake Awareness Month and a perfect time to sign up for the international ShakeOut Drill in October. Schools, workplaces, and individuals are encouraged to sign up for the October 19, 2023 Great ShakeOut Day to reinforce the information promoted this month. It's also a good time to find out if you are insured for earthquake damage.
"Illinois sits between the New Madrid Fault Zone and the Wabash Valley Seismic Zone," explained Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau. "I want everyone to understand the risks and know what to do if we have a significant earthquake."
Drop, Cover, and Hold On! is the best way to keep safe to earthquakes. The phrase reminds people to:
- Drop down to the floor,
- Take cover under a sturdy desk, table or other furniture,
- Hold on to that object until the shaking ends.
"Check your personal preparedness kits, review your family AND work emergency plans," said Tate-Nadeau. "Update your emergency contact information and designate a safe space where you can shelter during an earthquake."
If you use a cane: Drop, Cover, and Hold On or sit on a chair, bed, etc...and cover your head and neck with both hands. Keep your cane near so it can be used when the shaking stops.
If you use a walker or wheelchair: Lock your sheels (if applicable). If using a walker carefully get as low as possible. Bend over and Cover your head/neck with your arms, a book, or a pillow. Then Hold On until the shaking stops.
Another major consideration is earthquake insurance.
"Standard homeowners insurance policies generally do not cover damage due to earthquakes," said Illinois Department of Insurance Director Dana Popish Severinghaus. "However, Illinois consumers can purchase earthquake coverage as an endorsement to their existing homeowner's policy. Like other types of insurance, costs for coverage will vary depending on the home's structure, age, location, and the possible risk of an earthquake occurring in the area."
Homeowners should discuss more with their insurance agent on adding earthquake insurance.
Last year, the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut registered over 2.1 million participants. For anyone interested in practicing earthquake safety, you can join the Central U.S. earthquake preparedness effort on October 19, 2023 at 10:19 a.m. (CDT) for the Great ShakeOut Drill. Learn more about the Great ShakeOut Drill and register your participation at https://www.shakeout.org/centralus/.