Home Local News PR takes part in global quake drill
Issued : Thursday, October 17, 2013 03:45 PM
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PR takes part in global quake drill

By CB Online Staff/Associated Press

Many Puerto Ricans dove under desks and tables at midmorning Thursday in a major drill of the “drop, cover and hold on” earthquake survival skill.

Organizers said as many as 500,000 people in Puerto Rico were take part in the Great ShakeOut drill, joining 37 states, along with Guam and American Samoa. An estimated 19 million people took part worldwide.

The exercise allows first responders to rehearse emergency response plans. The drill was carried out in nearly 1,500 public schools and public and private facilities in Puerto Rico.

The drill on the island was coordinated by the Puerto Rico Seismic Network with support from the State Emergency Management Agency, the National Weather Service, the Radio Broadcasters Association and the emergency alert system.

The Caribbean region is one of the most seismically active regions in the world with a huge potential for death and destruction as evidenced by the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

Earthquakes and undersea landslides pose the biggest tsunami threat to Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, where warning periods can be shorter because of the relatively narrower expanses of sea than in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. Temblors are not uncommon in Puerto Rico.

The Great ShakeOut was first held in California in 2008 and participation has since spread around the globe. This year, Japan, Canada, Italy and Guam joined the drill. Thursday’s drills were to conclude in Alaska and Hawaii at the designated moment in those time zones.

Participation has exceeded last year's level despite a government shutdown that prevented the Federal Emergency Management Agency from doing last-minute promotion of the drill on social media sites.

In recent weeks, parts of the world have been rattled by powerful quakes, including a magnitude-7.1 jolt that killed more than 100 people in the Philippines and damaged historic churches.

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