Preparing for Earthquakes

1 decade 1 year 3 weeks ago Tuesday, June 19 2007 Jun 19, 2007 Tuesday, June 19, 2007 10:50:42 PM CDT June 19, 2007 in News

This week state departments are working through a three day earthquake drill.

An earthquake in Missouri may sound farfetched, but it is a real concern since part of south eastern Missouri lies in the New Madrid seismic zone, a fault that is ranked second in earthquake intensity.

"A 6.0 occurs in this area every 80 years in this area. The last one being 1895. If you do the math, we are a good thirty years over due," Mark James, Director of the Department of Public Safety, said.

In the next two days, emergency management and public safety departments will act as if Missouri was just hit by an earthquake.

Experts agree that it is not a matter of "If a significant earthquake will occur, but rather it's a matter of when one will occur," James said.

The health department participated in a drill where one hospital was destroyed and its patients had to be redistributed to other hospitals.

One main issue was the availability of supplies.

"What we're doing is testing all the way through requesting material from the stockpile," Stephanie Browning from the Boone County Health Department said. "So what we did this morning we had our hospitals come in and figure out what supplies and materials they would need."

MoDOT discussed how to distribute supplies in case roads and bridges are destroyed.

The Red Cross discussed its own disaster relief and supply list.

The state hasn't looked at it's earthquake plan since 1999, even though the New Madrid fault has an estimated 200 small scale earthquakes each year.

The three day preparation course will help officials and departments learn how to deal with the after shock of any future earthquake.

Right now the state has a 45 day response and recovery plan, but officials said the plan will never be complete and can be altered at any time.

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