US flag signifying that this is a United States Federal Government website   Official website of the Department of Homeland Security

U.S. Flag and Keyboard

Oklahoma Quake Shows Importance of Being Prepared

Posted by Tim Manning, Deputy Administrator, Protection and National Preparedness

Through our regional office in Denton, Texas, we continue to closely monitor the aftermath of a 5.6 magnitude earthquake that struck Oklahoma late Saturday night -- the largest earthquake in the state's history, according to the U.S. Geological Survey -- along with other severe weather that has continued to impact the state. We have reached out to our state and local partners in Oklahoma and will remain in close contact with them as local authorities continue to assess the damage.

Back in April, I was at Jones Elementary School in Jones, Okla., participating in an earthquake safety drill called the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut. In the drill, the students joined millions of others around the country and practiced the steps of “Drop. Cover. Hold On.” – the best way to stay safe during an earthquake.

And I know from experience that practicing for an earthquake can make a world of difference when the real thing happens. Last winter, I happened to be visiting Christchurch, New Zealand when the city was struck by a deadly earthquake.

As both my experience in Christchurch and the recent events in Oklahoma show, earthquakes can happen unexpectedly, and in places that the public doesn’t usually associate with earthquake activity. It’s critical that we all do our part to be prepared both for earthquakes and for aftershocks that can accompany them. We encourage everyone, if you haven't already, to learn how to protect your homes, businesses and loved ones from earthquakes. Visit www.Ready.gov/earthquakes for more information.

To get you started, here are some reminders on staying safe during an earthquake:
  • DROP to the ground; take COVER by getting under a sturdy table or other piece of furniture; and HOLD ON until the shaking stops. If there isn’t a table or desk near you, cover your face and head with your arms and crouch in an inside corner of the building.
  • Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls, and anything that could fall, such as lighting fixtures or furniture.
  • Stay in bed if you are there when the earthquake strikes. Hold on and protect your head with a pillow, unless you are under a heavy light fixture that could fall. In that case, move to the nearest safe place.
  • Do not use a doorway except if you know it is a strongly supported, load-bearing doorway and it is close to you. Many inside doorways are lightly constructed and do not offer protection.
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
Back to Top