Earthquake drill at WUSTL April 28

Drill is part of 2011 Great Central U.S. ShakeOut to encourage earthquake preparedness

St. Louis lies in the New Madrid fault zone, the site of several large earthquakes in the early 1800s. Another large earthquake in the region could cause significant damage and disruption to WUSTL campuses and the greater St. Louis area.

To help ensure the university community is prepared in the event of an earthquake, a voluntary earthquake drill will be held for all WUSTL faculty, staff and students at 10:15 a.m. Thursday, April 28.

The drill is a part of the 2011 Great Central U.S. ShakeOut, organized by the Central United States Earthquake Consortium. Those that wish to participate should practice “Drop, Cover and Hold On” for 60 seconds at 10:15 a.m. or at a minimum discuss earthquake safety with faculty, staff and students in your area. There will be no siren test or WUSTLAlerts test to signal the start of the drill.

Drop! Cover! Hold on!

“It is important that the university community take preventative measures before an earthquake occurs,” says WUSTL emergency management coordinator Mark Bagby. “Reserving a few minutes to participate in the ShakeOut earthquake drill and to review directions on how to stay safe during and after an earthquake can help the university community become more prepared for emergency situations and to minimize the risk of injuries.”

Bagby says WUSTL community members can follow six steps to prepare for and stay safe in the event of an earthquake:

  1. Take a few minutes to identify and reduce possible hazards that may harm you in a work or living area, such as:
    • Top-heavy, freestanding items that could topple;
    • Heavy or breakable items on high shelves; and
    • Heavy items hung on the wall or ceiling near a work, sitting or sleeping area.
  2. Know what to do during and after an earthquake by becoming familiar with directions posted at
  3. Prepare a small personal disaster kit that could last at least 72 hours.
  4. Practice “Drop, Cover and Hold on.” As you feel an earthquake beginning, immediately drop to the floor, seek cover under a sturdy structure such as a table or desk, and hold onto that structure.
  5. After an earthquake occurs, check for injuries and life-threatening damages.
  6. Follow WUSTL’s disaster instructions and communications. Emergency signage and assembly points are posted throughout WUSTL campuses. Through WUSTLAlerts, the university uses contact information in HRMS and WebSTAC/SIS to contact individuals by email, phone and text message when necessary in an emergency. WUSTL community members are strongly encouraged to update their contact information via HRMS and WebSTAC/SIS.

For more information about what do in the event of an earthquake and other emergencies, visit

The 2011 ShakeOut drill is estimated to be the largest preparedness event in central U.S. history. For more information, visit or contact Mark Bagby at