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It’s hard to believe, but several earthquakes have taken place in western North Carolina this year.

Aren’t those things supposed to happen in California?

“Earthquakes are rare in North Carolina, but four already have occurred this year in the western part of the state,” said North Carolina Public Safety Secretary Frank L. Perry. “Knowing what to do and practicing three simple steps will better protect you in an earthquake.”

Perry encourages North Carolinians to join more than one million people across six southeastern states and the District of Columbia who have committed to participate in the third Great Southeast ShakeOut.

The drill, being held on Oct. 16 at 10:16 a.m., has participants simultaneously practice what to do to protect themselves in an earthquake. But you can hold your drill any time within two weeks of Oct. 16, the website says.

The three steps Perry mentioned?

  • DROP to the ground (before the earthquake makes you fall)
  • Take COVER under a sturdy desk or table
  • HOLD ON to the desk until the shaking stops.

If there is no table or desk nearby, crouch in an inside corner of a building and cover your head and neck with your hands and arms.  Stay away from bookshelves, lamps, TVs, cabinets and other objects as much as possible. Such items may fall and cause injuries.

Residents, schools, communities and businesses can register to participate at The website offers resources to help plan an earthquake drill: instruction manuals, videos, audio drill broadcasts, earthquake scenarios and more.

Great ShakeOut Earthquake drills are being held in more than 45 states and territories. More than 22 million people worldwide are expected to participate. ShakeOut participants include individuals, schools, businesses, local and state government agencies, and many other groups.

You can visit for more earthquake preparedness tips or to download the free ReadyNC mobile app that provides for safety tips and real-time weather and traffic information.

Yes, earthquakes are relatively rare in the Tar Heel State. But we do have a history of them, some of which caused damage and, understandably, a bit of panic. So it does pay to be prepared.

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