Woodward, Okla. —
Tornadoes and wildfires are not be the only natural disasters Oklahomans need to prepare for. After a 5.6 magnitude tremor shook the state in November 2011, earthquakes became another major concern for disaster preparedness.
However, Cody Wright, a regional readiness specialist with the American Red Cross, said the problem is that Oklahomans are still getting adjusted to being in an earthquake zone.
“Most people don't really think about earthquakes,” Wright said.
He shared an anecdote about the experiences at the Red Cross offices in Oklahoma City.
“When the earthquake struck our building, a photo fell off the wall and everyone thought it was a car hitting the building, so it's not something people really think about,” he said, referring to the November 2011 earthquake that damaged several homes and injured 2 people in the Shawnee-Sparks area. “After that it put earthquakes back on everyone's radar.”
To help Oklahomans be become more mindful of earthquakes and better prepared, this month the American Red Cross and the Central U.S. Earthquake Consortium will be teaming up for what they hope will be one of the largest earthquake drills in the southern United States.
On February 7th at 10:15 a.m, Oklahoma along with 10 other states will be taking part in the Central U.S. ShakeOut to promote awareness and preparedness.
The purpose of the drill is to teach everyone what to expect and the different steps to take during an earthquake, Wright said.
The ShakeOut drill focuses on the "Drop, Cover, and Hold On" actions that people are recommended to take in the event of an earthquake. The first step is to drop to the floor. Next, look for something stable that will cover you from falling objects. Lastly, hold on and wait the tremors out.
Those who register to participate in the drill will be given information directing them how to enact the drill at their respective site, whether it's a school, office, home or other location.
The information includes links to audio and video recordings that can be downloaded and used to accompany the earthquake drill. The recordings go through the Drop, Cover, and Hold On procedures.
There is also information provided about ways people can get prepared for earthquakes, such as going on a "hazard hunt" to look for items that might fall during an earthquake and secure them.
“I urge everyone to visit the website or Red Cross and take part in the drill and learn about the potential hazard,” Wright said.
Registration is still open and available to anyone who wants to participate. To register or for more information you can go to www.shakeout.org/centralus or you can contact your local Red Cross.
The Northwest Oklahoma Chapter of the Red Cross has offices located at 1209 9th St. in Woodward and is reachable by phone at (580) 256-3828.