Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

February 5, 2013

This drill not a regular shake

Barry Porterfield
Pauls Valley Democrat — Many Oklahomans are sure to remember feeling the rumblings and scary uncertainties when an earthquake shook the region just over a year ago.

It was back in November 2011 when a magnitude 5.6 quake struck near Prague and was clearly felt throughout parts of Garvin County and beyond.

Although other parts of the country and world have been impacted far worse in the past it was in fact the strongest earthquake ever in Oklahoma.

One group, the American Red Cross, is now planning an event for this week meant to help people be ready for any shakings from a future quake.

It’s called the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut as a simultaneous “Drop, Cover and Hold On” drill is set for 10:15 a.m. Central time on Thursday, Feb. 7 for a long list of states, including Oklahoma.

“Red Cross is doing this earthquake simulation and response,” said Angielee Wright, coordinator of the Garvin County chapter of the Red Cross.

“This is so we’ll know what to do in the event of an earthquake,” she said.

“An Elmore City church and an agency in Pauls Valley are participating. If any other agencies are interested in participating they can call our Red Cross office in Pauls Valley.”

When the 2011 quake did occur in Oklahoma at least two people were injured, 14 homes were destroyed and many others were damaged in the Shawnee and Sparks area.

Parts of U.S. Highway 62 between Meeker and Prague buckled by the shaking, along with pre-existing cracks.

With Thursday’s event the Drop, Cover and Hold On drill is the recommended action in the event of an earthquake.

“You never know when disasters are going to strike,” Wright said.

“It’s better to be prepared if one does happen here in Garvin County.”

As for this week’s ShakeOut drill, it’s the largest earthquake preparedness event in central U.S. history.

“A key aspect of the ShakeOut is the integration of earthquake research and the lessons learned from the social science research about why people get prepared for disasters,” said Mary Jane Coffman in a statement.

“The ShakeOut creates the sense of urgency that is needed for people, organizations and communities to get prepared, to practice what to do to be safe and to learn what plans need to be improved.”

To find out more about the earthquake drill call the Red Cross in PV at 405-238-1515. The local office is located at 225 West McClure.