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Be prepared: The Great Southeast Shake Out

By Richard Green and James Ferguson 633rd Civil Engineer Squadron Emergency Management Flight

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An earthquake could strike at any time. On Aug. 23, 2011, a magnitude 5.8 earthquake hit the Piedmont region of Virginia at 1:51 p.m.

The epicenter, in Louisa County, Virginia, was 38 miles northwest of Richmond and five miles southwest of the town of Mineral. 

The ground shaking during an earthquake is seldom the cause of injury. Most earthquake-related injuries and deaths are caused by collapsing walls and roofs, flying glass and falling objects.

It is extremely important for a person to move as little as possible to reach a place of safety, such as under a sturdy piece of furniture or against an interior wall in your workplace and/or home. Most injuries occur when people try to move more than a short distance during the shaking.

Prior planning and/or practicing helps individuals identify plan weakness and ensure they are ready to respond. There may only be a few seconds for people to protect themselves before strong shaking knocks them down or drops something on them.

It is for this reason that the Virginia Department of Emergency Management has asked all residents to participate in The Great Southeast Shake Out, a one minute earthquake preparedness drill.

The drill will take place on Oct. 17, 2019 at 10:17 a.m. Taking part in this drill allows individuals to look around now before an earthquake and identify safe places so that when the shaking starts they can respond quickly.

For questions concerning earthquake actions, call the Langley Emergency Management Office at (757) 764-2058 or the Fort Eustis office at (757) 878-1796.


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