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Grissom drops, covers, holds on during ShakeOut exercise

GRISSOM AIR RESERVE BASE, Ind. -- Senior Master Sgt. Joseph Lageose, 434th Maintenance Squadron production superintendent, dives under a desk during an earthquake exercise here Feb. 7. During an earthquake, it is recommended people follow the steps of drop, get under cover and hold on to protect themselves from falling debris. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration/Tech. Sgt. Mark R. W. Orders-Woempner)

GRISSOM AIR RESERVE BASE, Ind. -- Senior Master Sgt. Joseph Lageose, 434th Maintenance Squadron production superintendent, dives under a desk during an earthquake exercise here Feb. 7. During an earthquake, it is recommended people follow the steps of drop, get under cover and hold on to protect themselves from falling debris. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration/Tech. Sgt. Mark R. W. Orders-Woempner)

GRISSOM AIR RESERVE BASE, Ind. -- David Stanley, 434th Air Refueling Wing reserve pay technician, takes cover under his desk during an earthquake exercise held here Feb. 7. The base participated in the exercise with organizations around the central United States as part of the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Mark R. W. Orders-Woempner)

GRISSOM AIR RESERVE BASE, Ind. -- David Stanley, 434th Air Refueling Wing reserve pay technician, takes cover under his desk during an earthquake exercise held here Feb. 7. The base participated in the exercise with organizations around the central United States as part of the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Mark R. W. Orders-Woempner)

GRISSOM AIR RESERVE BASE, Ind. -- An earthquake exercise notification displays on a computer screen here Feb. 7. This computer-based notification system is one of many ways the base informs Grissom personnel with important information. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Mark R. W. Orders-Woempner)

GRISSOM AIR RESERVE BASE, Ind. -- An earthquake exercise notification displays on a computer screen here Feb. 7. This computer-based notification system is one of many ways the base informs Grissom personnel with important information. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Mark R. W. Orders-Woempner)

GRISSOM AIR RESERVE BASE, Ind. -- Erin Strickland, 434th Air Refueling Wing secretary to the comptroller, takes cover under her desk during an earthquake exercise held here Feb. 7. The base participated in the exercise with organizations around the central United States as part of the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Mark R. W. Orders-Woempner)

GRISSOM AIR RESERVE BASE, Ind. -- Erin Strickland, 434th Air Refueling Wing secretary to the comptroller, takes cover under her desk during an earthquake exercise held here Feb. 7. The base participated in the exercise with organizations around the central United States as part of the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Mark R. W. Orders-Woempner)

GRISSOM AIR RESERVE BASE, Ind. -- Senior Airman Waleed Kishta, 434th Operations Support Squadron intelligence apprentice, takes cover under a desk at the 434th Air Refueling Wing headquarters during an earthquake exercise here Feb. 7. Kishta works in another building across base, but was working with the 434th Military Personnel Flight in the headquarters facility when the exercise hit, illustrating that people may not always be where they normally are expected to be during an emergency. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Mark R. W. Orders-Woempner)

GRISSOM AIR RESERVE BASE, Ind. -- Senior Airman Waleed Kishta, 434th Operations Support Squadron intelligence apprentice, takes cover under a desk at the 434th Air Refueling Wing headquarters during an earthquake exercise here Feb. 7. Kishta works in another building across base, but was working with the 434th Military Personnel Flight in the headquarters facility when the exercise hit, illustrating that people may not always be where they normally are expected to be during an emergency. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Mark R. W. Orders-Woempner)

GRISSOM AIR RESERVE BASE, Ind. -- Shaking things up, Grissom personnel dropped, covered and held on during a recent earthquake exercise here.

The base participated in the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut, an annual earthquake drill held in nine central U.S. states, Feb. 7, where participants were encouraged to drop down, get under cover and hold on when notified they were in a simulated earthquake scenario.

According to the event's website, 2.9 million people registered for the exercise and over 12.5 million people participated in ShakeOut events around the world last year.

While Grissom is surrounded by several minor seismic zones, perhaps the biggest threat comes from the New Madrid Seismic Zone, a 150-mile long fault system that has been responsible for major earthquakes in the past and is located along the Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee and Kentucky boarders.

"If we're talking about the same fault as the last earthquake we felt, where the epicenter was around Greentown, (Ind.), we could see some damages such as broken windows," explained Bob Wydock, Grissom's deputy emergency manager. "But, if you're talking about the Madrid Fault cutting loose, there could be major damage, and we would be the location of choice for federal rescue services coming in to help."

And, with that great risk, comes great responsibility and preparation.

"It's important that we're prepared for any natural disaster so that we can survive it and continue on," explained Wydock. "By practicing for a disaster, you'll be better prepared for it, and the more you prepare, the better chance you have of surviving it."

And survival is a focus of Wydock and the entire Grissom Emergency Management Office.

"Mission continuation and force survivability is the whole reason why the Emergency Management shop exists," he said, adding that Grissom will continue to strive to prepare its personnel for any emergency situation.

Grissom is home to the 434th Air Refueling Wing, the largest KC-135R Stratotanker unit in the Air Force Reserve Command, as well as three Army Reserve units and a Marine Corps Reserve communications detachment.

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