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Capital News: It's time to Drop, Cover and Hold On

by Marc kovac | Capital Bureau Chief Published: October 19, 2016 12:00 AM
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Columbus -- While the presidential campaign disintegrates into a series of lewd accusations from both sides of the political aisle, let us turn our attention again to other things.

For example, earthquakes.

They happen here in Ohio more often than you probably realize, and you need to be ready to respond when the ground starts shaking.

So says the Ohio Emergency Management Agency, which is encouraging businesses, schools and others to participate in this month's "International Earthquake Drill," code name "ShakeOut," on Oct. 20, at 10:20 a.m. (That's the third Thursday of the month. If you miss it this year, mark it on the calendar for 2017.)

"Ohio may not experience earthquakes of significant magnitudes, but we do have them," said Sima Merick, Ohio EMA executive director, in a released statement announcing the event. "Or you may travel to another state or country that has a history of sizable earthquakes. Know what to do in the event of any disaster -- whether it's an earthquake, tornado or fire."

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The agency's website (www.ready.ohio.gov) has all sorts of interesting and useful information about how to handle emergency events, including terrorist attacks, winter storms and floods.

There's an entire section there, too, on earthquakes.

Folks in the Youngstown area know all about the ground shaking, following a series of seismic events a couple of years ago tied to the state's growing shale oil and gas industry. Those events and others like them helped prompt state officials to require seismic readings as part of drilling activities.

There also have been earthquakes elsewhere in the state. Last year, EMA counted more than half a dozen in Ohio. This year, there have been at least three in the state, including events in Guernsey, Gallia and Ottawa counties registering 2.3-2.6 in magnitude.

Granted, most seismic events of that sort aren't going to lead to widespread death and destruction, but you should be ready to respond to earthquakes regardless.

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Because, as the EMA website notes, "Earthquakes can strike suddenly, without warning, and can occur any time of the year, day or night."

As part of the ShakeOut event this month, state officials are encouraging a "Drop, Cover and Hold On" approach to quakes:

"DROP where you are, onto your hands and knees. This position protects you from being knocked down and allows you to stay low and crawl to shelter, if it's nearby."

"COVER your head and neck with one arm and hand. If a sturdy table or desk is nearby, crawl underneath it for shelter. If no shelter is nearby, crawl next to an interior wall, away from windows."

"HOLD ON until shaking stops. Under a shelter: hold onto it with one hand and be ready to move with your shelter if it shifts."

You can register online for the earthquake drill at www.shakeout.org. Nearly 3 million people in the central part of the country, the region that includes Ohio for counting purposes, have already done so. There's more information on that website, including video guides for how to stay safe during quakes.

You may also be tempted to try the "Drop, Cover and Hold On" method as we get closer to Nov. 8.

And that might not be a bad idea.

Marc Kovac is the Dix Capital Bureau Chief. Email him at mkovac@dixcom.com or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.

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