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U of M Prepares for a “Great ShakeOut” April 28 All Across the Central United States

For release: April 21, 2011
For press information, contact Curt Guenther, 901-678-2843

At 10:15 a.m., Thursday, April 28, almost 2,000,000 people in 5,000 locations in 11 Central and Midwestern states, including Memphis and the University of Memphis, will experience an earthquake the likes of which has never been seen.

That’s because it’s just a gigantic practice.  Its purpose is to help first responders, government officials, school administrators, and all the participants in the involved communities learn what to do and how to do it if a genuine earthquake or related disaster were to strike their locations.

Sponsored by the Memphis-based Central U.S. Earthquake Consortium, the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut has been in the planning stages for months.  Some organizations involved in the ShakeOut will present public events such as safety fairs; other events may be held only for people within an organization, such as a business or a school.

The Consortium has created drill manuals for students in grades K through 12, for businesses, non-profits, government facilities, and for special populations, such as persons with disabilities.  The drills range from the basic “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” to comprehensive exercises of disaster plans such as those at schools, colleges, and hospitals.

The drill will make use of audio and video recordings, so participants will have a “feel” for what’s happening and can make realistic use of their drill manuals.

The Earthquake Consortium’s goal is to give people across the central United States, where a variety of fault lines could lead to major earthquakes without warning, a chance to think about what they would do in such a situation, and to practice doing the things necessary to survive and recover from a damaging earthquake,

More information about the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut is available online at

Information about disaster preparedness is also available on these websites:  the University of Memphis Crisis Management Plan and the Center for Earthquake Research and Information site,, and the Shelby County Office of Preparedness site,

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