Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Opinion

January 9, 2013

Take time out for ShakeOut

THE ISSUE: The Great Central United States ShakeOut, an annual earthquake drill scheduled for Feb. 7.

OUR VIEW: Midwest earthquakes are few but not uncommon. With a bit of preparation, you might help prevent such an event from becoming a family calamity.

Shaking and a great “boom” awoke the Henry family just before 8 a.m. Dec. 30, 2010.

“I had a friend in western Indiana who later called and asked if I heard anything,” Craig Henry told us outside his home in southeastern Howard County later that morning. “I said, ‘Yeah, it happened right in my backyard.’”

“It” was a 3.8-magnitude earthquake. The temblor’s epicenter was farmland at the northeast corner of Ind. 26 and Howard County Road 1250 East, about 5 miles south of Greentown.

Then-Sheriff Marty Talbert said 113 people called 911 within 15 minutes of the first tremor. But its radius spread between 120 and 190 miles, the U.S. Geological Survey of Golden, Colo., said, jolting people from Chicago to southwestern Ohio.

Midwest earthquakes are few but not uncommon. Scientists anticipate a damaging quake occurring in the central U.S. within the next 50 years, the Indiana Department of Homeland Security says.

That’s why about 277,000 Hoosiers will take part in the third annual Great Central U.S. ShakeOut at 10:15 a.m. Feb. 7. About 791,000 participants in nine states will practice earthquake safety actions “Drop, Cover and Hold On.”

Drop to the ground.

Take cover under a sturdy desk or table.

And hold on to it until the shaking stops.

Homeland Security urged Hoosiers Tuesday to log onto www.ShakeOut.org/centralus and pledge family, school or business participation in the earthquake drill Feb. 7. Registered participants will receive information on how to plan their drill and create dialogue with others about earthquake preparedness.

Whether you participate, Homeland Security suggests your family establish an emergency communication plan and assemble a disaster kit.

Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as the “family contact” when disaster strikes. It is often easier to call long distance after a local emergency. Ensure every family member knows the name, address and phone number of the contact person.

In a disaster kit, include: food and water for three days, radio, flashlight, batteries for the radio and flashlight, first aid kit, clothing, blankets, personal hygiene items, emergency phone numbers, cash in small bills and copies of documents such as Social Security cards and insurance information.

Earthquakes and other disasters, like tornadoes and floods, can happen any time and place. With a bit of preparation, you might help prevent such an event from becoming a family calamity.

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