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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

ODU Community Encouraged to Participate in Upcoming Earthquake Drill

Virginia residents - including students, faculty and staff at Old Dominion University - will have an opportunity in October to learn more about earthquake safety and participate in a simultaneous multi-state drill.

"The Great Southeast ShakeOut" will be held on Thursday, Oct. 16, at 10:16 a.m. During the drill, participants will practice the "Drop, Cover and Hold On" maxim, which instructs those caught in an earthquake to drop to the ground where you are; take cover under a sturdy table or desk if possible, protecting your head and neck; and hold on until the shaking stops.

In conjunction with the ShakeOut event, ODU will test its Emergency Notification System (ENS) at approximately 10:16 a.m. on the day of the drill. Official notifications during the approximately 15-minute drill may be transmitted through outdoor loudspeakers, text messaging, desktop computer alerts, student/faculty/staff email and the ODU website. Students, faculty and staff who have not already signed up to receive alerts should visit the ODU health and safety website to register for the free service.

During an earthquake, a natural instinct may be to run outside. But this is dangerous and can severely compromise safety because the ground is moving and injuries could result from falling or being hit by dislodged bricks, glass and other building materials. The "Drop, Cover and Hold On," procedure is considered the best response to an earthquake in the United States, according to a statement issued by the Virginia Department of Emergency Management.

For more information on earthquake safety, visit the ReadyVirginia or Southeast Shakeout websites.

More than 800,000 Virginians (including more than 140,000 in higher education and 25,000 in state government) have registered for the 2014 Great Southeast ShakeOut, putting the state on target to meet or exceed the 1 million participant mark set in 2013. The ShakeOut, which is held in conjunction with drills in other states and several countries, is part of ODU's emergency management program.

Virginia began participating in the multistate drill in 2012, about a year after a 5.8 magnitude earthquake struck in Mineral, a small community in the central part of the state. During the event, nearly 4,500 individuals and businesses were affected and the iconic Washington Monument, in the District of Columbia, was damaged and subsequently closed for several years for repairs that cost $15 million.

"We learned unexpectedly what the safe response to an earthquake is, and it's not to run outside," said Jeff Stern, Virginia's coordinator of emergency management. "Since the Mineral earthquake, Virginia has participated every year in a multi-state earthquake drill so we all can practice and remember to drop, cover and hold on."

In the event of an actual emergency, ODU's earthquake preparedness and ENS drills will be rescheduled for a later date. Questions should be directed to the Office of Emergency Management: oem@odu.edu or (757) 683-5116.

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