ShakeOut earthquake drill planned for Oct. 19

People across Montana felt earthquakes this year, leading to increased interest in the annual ShakeOut earthquake drill.

The event is Oct. 19 at 10:19 a.m.

Want to participate or learn more about the ShakeOut? Click here.

Essentially, at that exact time, participants pretend and earthquake has occurred and practice the stop, drop and hold drill and also run through whatever procedures and protocols they have for emergency events, according to local emergency managers.

“Do they know that to do during the earthquake,” is part of the exercise, said Brian Wilkinson, Malmstrom’s emergency planner. Then the base agencies will run through their checklists and conduct damage assessments that are sent to the base emergency operations center. The base EOC will activate during the exercise, Wilkinson said. It wasn’t activated during the Lincoln earthquakes this year because there was no damage on base or to any launch facilities throughout the state.

In the scenario the Malmstrom airmen are exercising, the earthquake would be closer to base, Wilkinson said.

Dave Nordel, the city’s emergency planner, said he’s worked with area businesses to encourage them to participate and information about the CodeRed system was mailed in utility bills recently. Another one will go out soon with information on sheltering in place, Nordel said.

They’re also working to better public awareness of emergency preparedness, Wilkinson said.

“You need to be prepared to handle yourself for 72 hours,” Wilkinson said.

In a major disaster situation, “people have to take care of themselves,” Wilkinson said.

So far, there are 105,666 registered participants in Montana, including 14,017 in Cascade County. The City of Great Falls, Malmstrom Air Force Base and Great Falls Public Schools are among the local participants.

Brian Wilkninson, Malmstrom’s emergency manager, said that the base is participating a

The drill also plays into the Vigilant Guard exercise set for March 2018 in Montana

The exercise simulates a possible real-world, catastrophic disasters to help local, state and federal agencies coordinate emergency relief efforts and response-and-recovery management.

The 2018 scenario is a major earthquake that triggers dam failures and there’s a major flood in Great Falls, Nordel said.

Vigilant Guard was last held in Montana in 2009 and also used an earthquake scenario.