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Maryland Department of Emergency Management

“Great ShakeOut” Earthquake Drill to Occur Tomorrow (10/20)

“Great ShakeOut” Earthquake Drill to Occur Tomorrow (10/20)

All Marylanders Encouraged to Participate and Practice Earthquake Preparedness

REISTERSTOWN, Md. (October 19, 2016) — Earthquakes can and do happen in Maryland which is why the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is asking residents to register and take part in the Great SouthEast ShakeOut tomorrow. By participating in this nationwide drill, participants will learn proper earthquake preparedness and safety techniques. Held every year in October, the ShakeOut is set for Thursday, October 20, 2016 at 10:20 a.m.

Many people on the east coast of the United States may not be used to earthquakes and may not know the appropriate safety protocols.  In 2011, a 5.8 magnitude earthquake that occurred in Virginia was felt in areas of Maryland and some residents were not aware of what actions to take. A 2.2 magnitude earthquake also occurred at night in Anne Arundel County, Md. last year.

“Earthquakes may occur less frequently than other hazards in Maryland, however they do and have happened in our area,” said Russ Strickland, executive director of MEMA. “Preparing for this no-notice event is as important as practicing fire, severe weather, or other monthly or annual drills.”

The ShakeOut drill is free and open to the public. Individuals, families, schools, businesses, government agencies, and many other groups can all participate in tomorrow’s drill.  Those wanting to participate are asked to register by visiting Thousands of Maryland residents have already registered for the 2016 drill.

During the self-led drill, participants practice how to “Drop, Cover, and Hold On.” Endorsed by emergency officials and first responders, the safe response to an earthquake is to:

  • Drop to the ground,
  • Take Cover under a table or desk, and
  • Hold On to it as if a major earthquake were happening.

For more information about emergency preparedness, please visit our website at, Twitter feed @mdmema, Facebook page and Instagram.

NOTE TO MEDIA: For information about Maryland participants in the drill, please visit and click on the Maryland icon on the map. Please contact participating organizations directly if you want to do a story about their participation. The Maryland Center for School Safety, Maryland State Fire Marshal, Maryland State Department of Education, and MEMA are coordinating efforts for the Great SouthEast ShakeOut.