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Tower Federal Credit Union Prepares Employees for Safety, Participates in National Great American ShakeOut Earthquake Drill

[Laurel, MD]—Tower Federal Credit Union joined over 1.9 million businesses, organizations, families and individuals throughout the southeastern region of the United States on October 17 for the Great American ShakeOut Earthquake Drill. The drill was held at Tower's headquarters in Laurel, Md.

Before the drill began, local Fire Marshals requested cardboard boxes be disbursed around each floor of the building to simulate fallen pictures, broken glass and shifted equipment. During the imaginary earthquake, Tower employees followed instructions to drop to the floor, take cover under a table or desk and hold on to the leg or other part of the furniture until the "shaking" stopped. They were then alerted via fire alarm to evacuate the building. Fire Marshals took a tally of all employees before they returned to work.

The earthquake drill was an overall success according to Bill Grantham, Tower's Vice President of Facilities and Administrative Services and lead coordinator of the event. "The fire department was very impressed with the respectable and orderly way in which we evacuated the building. While we hope to never have to use these skills, it is better to know what to do in case of such an emergency.".

Grantham says Tower encourages employees to share the information with their families, neighbors and friends, so that they too can learn how to be safe during an earthquake.

The Great American ShakeOut Earthquake Drill was designed primarily to help businesses develop plans on what to do in the event of an earthquake and to ensure that disasters do not become catastrophes. It was also developed to encourage individuals, communities, schools and other organizations to review and update emergency preparedness plans and supplies, and to secure space in order to prevent damage and injuries.

Over the last few years, a number of major earthquakes have struck areas across the United States as well as around the globe, resulting in a trail of devastation, huge recovery costs, lost lives and serious injuries. In August 2011, a 5.8 magnitude earthquake in Virginia was felt in Maryland, and shook Tower's Headquarters building in Laurel. The tremors did not cause any employee injuries or damage to the building or other Tower branches. Based on recent history and the frequency and unpredictable nature of these earthquake occurrences, federal, state and local emergency management experts and other official preparedness organizations agree that everyone should practice how to protect themselves in the event of a major earthquake.

In 2003, the Earthquake Country Alliance created the Great California ShakeOut, an earthquake drill and preparedness activity. By 2009, the event was expanded to other regions throughout the United States. Businesses of all sizes use the drill to motivate employees, business partners, clients and customers, to get involved and prepare for a major earthquake.

Although the instructional materials were created primarily for the purpose of preparing for an earthquake in a business setting, they can be adapted and used for earthquake drills anywhere.

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