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Homeland Security to Conduct Multi-State Earthquake Drill

By Doug Powers  •  April 21, 2011 04:01 PM

**Written by Doug Powers

Scenario: An earthquake that’s an 8.2 on the Richter scale strikes middle America. Can agents with the Department of Homeland Security keep their balance well enough to still perform pat-downs on six year olds? We’ll know by the end of next Thursday.

The New Madrid fault is the focus of the Department of Homeland Security (the first two years of the administration were focused completely on Bush’s fault), and Janet Napolitano and Arne Duncan are overseeing an earthquake preparedness test next week that will focus mostly on schools in the midwest:

The Departments of Homeland Security and Education are reaching out to millions of people in central U.S. states to get them to participate in an earthquake preparedness drill.

In an event called the “Great Central U.S. Shake Out,” Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Education Secretary Arne Duncan are reaching out to areas in the Midwest that could be impacted by an earthquake along the New Madrid fault line.

According to the event’s website, more than 2.5 million people have committed to taking part in Thursday’s drill in which participants will be told how to react in the event of an earthquake.

Participants are told to drop to the ground, take cover under something sturdy, such as a desk or a table, and hold on to it until the shaking stops.

“It’s critical that all members of the nation’s emergency management team — including the federal government, state, local and tribal officials, the private sector and the public — are prepared,” said Napolitano.

The DHS website informs people to “Drop, cover and hold on until the shaking stops.” That sounds more like advice from a 1955 sex-ed manual than earthquake preparedness information it took an entire department of government to come up with, but hey, whatever works.

Incidentally, the “drop & cover” procedure is the same one we’re supposed to use when a collision with the debt ceiling is imminent, but DHS won’t conduct a drill on that until next month.

You can learn more about earthquake preparedness by watching Napolitano’s “If you see something shaking, say something” video at all participating Walmart stores.

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

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