SPRINGFIELD, IL (KFVS) - Maybe you don't think much about what to do in case of an earthquake, but the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and local emergency officials say you do.
Just over 200 years ago, parts of several states in the central U.S. were rocked by some of the largest earthquakes ever recorded in North America, with the strongest estimated to be around magnitude 8.0. With that in mind, both IEMA and local emergency management officials are promoting earthquake preparedness throughout February.
"A similar earthquake today would have a devastating impact on millions of people in the region," said IEMA Director James Joseph. "While we can't predict when the next major (quake) will occur, we can help people learn how to protect themselves and reduce damage to their homes."
According to a news release from IEMA, learning how to "drop, cover and hold on" can help prevent injury during a quake. The phrase is a reminder to drop down to the floor, take cover under a sturdy desk, table, or other furniture, then hold onto that object and be prepared to move with it until the shaking ends.
IEMA says you can also take several steps to help prevent injuries and property damage at home. Those steps include strapping water heaters and large appliances to wall studs, fastening shelves to wall studs, securing cabinet doors with latches, and stripping TV's, computers and other heavy equipment to prevent tipping. IEMA says you also need to know how to shut off your gas, water and electricity in case the lines are damaged.
More information about earthquake preparedness is available at http://www.ready.illinois.gov. Earthquake safety tips will be posted throughout February on the Ready Illinois Facebook and Twitter pages.