On Thursday, Oct. 17 at approximately 10:17 a.m., millions of people around the world participated in the world's largest earthquake drill. An estimated 18 million people worldwide were to participate in the 2013 "Great ShakeOut" drill.

Maryland is one of many jurisdictions throughout the country which that participated in the drill and partnered with Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia as part of the "SouthEast ShakeOut." Of the estimated 1.8 million people participating in the SouthEast ShakeOut, 124,648 were from Maryland.

The earliest recorded earthquake in Maryland was in Annapolis on April 25, 1758. That shock lasted approximately 30 seconds. The most recent significant event in Maryland occurred on July 16, 2010 when a 3.6 magnitude earthquake occurred near Germantown.

Between 1758 and 1987, Maryland experienced 22 minor earthquakes. From January 1990 through December 1996, however, the state experienced 35 small tremors including one in Harford County.


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In August 2011 a 5.9 magnitude earthquake in Virginia was felt in Harford County and throughout the region. The quake lasted approximately 10 seconds but shook buildings and caused concern among area residents.

"The Great ShakeOut drill is an opportunity for people to prepare and practice what to do in the event of an earthquake," Harford County Emergency Manager Rick Ayers said. "The steps most people should take in the event of an earthquake are 'Drop, Cover and Hold On' which will help reduce injuries."

Millions of people worldwide have participated in "Great ShakeOut" drills since 2008. The "Great ShakeOut" is held on the third Thursday of October each year.

"The Great ShakeOut Drill is a 'teachable moment' that reminds people, organizations, businesses and communities to get prepared, to practice what to do to be safe prior to an actual earthquake," Ayers remarked.

Points to consider

When inside a building or structure take the following actions: drop to the floor, cover and hold on; in a bed, stay there, curl up and hold on protecting your head with a pillow; remain indoors until the shaking stops and it is safe to leave the building; and stay away from windows to avoid injuries from broken or shattered glass.

When outdoors when an earthquake strikes: locate a clear area away from buildings, power lines, trees and streetlights and drop to the ground until the shaking stops; if in a vehicle, pull over to a clear area and stop, void bridges, overpasses and area with power lines if possible and remain in the vehicle with a seatbelt fastened until the shaking stops; if a power line falls on to your vehicle, do not exit the vehicle, remain in the vehicle and wait for assistance; and if in a mountainous area, stay alert for falling rocks and debris.

For further information on earthquake preparedness and the Great ShakeOut, visit http://www.fema.gov or http://www.shakeout.org.