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Drop, take cover and hold on

February 6, 2013

By the time many of our mail customers read this column, it may be too late to join in the 2013 Great Central U.S. ShakeOut scheduled exactly for 10:15.a.m. on Thursday, February 7. The ShakeOut is our opportunity to practice how to protect ourselves during earthquakes.

“Mark my words,” my mother used to say, “an earthquake is going to hit Mississippi.” We told her she was crazy. No earthquake had ever hit here!

As unlikely as a Mississippi earthquake may seem, it has been known to happen.

In 1811 and 1812, a series of earthquakes near the New Madrid, Missouri area was felt in Mississippi as far south as the Gulf Coast causing the banks of the Mississippi River to cave in as far south as Vicksburg, more than 300 miles from the epicenter of the quake.

The earliest and strongest earthquake reported in MS occurred in 1931 in Charleston scoring a six on the Richter Scale. In 1955, an earthquake jarred a 30-mile strip of the MS Gulf Coast that shook houses.

Emergency preparedness organizations all agree that “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” is the appropriate action to reduce injury and death during earthquakes.

*DROP to the ground,

*Take COVER under a sturdy desk or table, and

*HOLD ON to it until the shaking stops.

As I recall, in the early 70’s these were also the exact actions we were taught to take in the event of a tornado ora nuclear missle attack from Cuba.

Regardless of the emergency, drop, take cover and hold on sounds like all-around good advice for whatever comes your way.