Great American ShakeOut prompts earthquake awareness -, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Great American ShakeOut prompts earthquake awareness

 MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - South Carolina gets 10 to 30 earthquakes each year, but most people never notice them, because they're so small. But emergency management officials say it's just a matter of time before a big earthquake hits South Carolina, and when it does, you need to be prepared.

"One day we will get impacted by an earthquake and the biggest issue with that is you just don't know when it's going to happen," says Randy Webster, the Horry County Emergency Management Director.

So across the country this morning, millions of people took part in the Great American ShakeOut.

One phrase was repeated over and over Thursday: "Drop, cover, hold on!" This teaches both kids and adults, if you're in a building, drop to the ground, take cover under a sturdy desk or table, and hold on until the shaking stops. 

And if you're near to things that can fall from the walls, you have to be underneath something strong to be protected. In South Carolina, schools, local governments, office buildings and other organizations signed on to do the drill.

In total more than 260,000 people signed on, but millions more still may not know just how bad it could be.

"The vulnerability we have to earthquakes that we have is just huge," Webster says. "People don't understand how bad it may be if we get a large magnitude, significant earthquake in Horry County would be devastating."

Charleston is in one of the most seismically-active areas in Eastern United States. It suffered a magnitude 7.3 earthquake in 1886, and experts believe it will experience another in the future.

Experts say having a family plan is the key to making sure all your loved ones know what to do if the ground starts shaking, because with an earthquake, you have only seconds to protect yourself.

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