February is Earthquake Awareness Month
Month reminds Missourians that Show-Me State is home to most active seismic zone east of Rocky Mountains, encourages earthquake preparedness
This February will mark the 202nd anniversary of one of the largest earthquakes ever recorded
in the continental United States, which was centered in the southeast Missouri town of New
Madrid. The Feb. 7, 1812 earthquake is a key reason Missouri observes Earthquake
Awareness Month each February and encourages residents to think about earthquake safety.
"Missouri experiences a wide range of natural disasters, from ice storms and blizzards to
tornadoes and flooding, but an earthquake provides no warning and a major quake would have
a large and long-term impact on our state," said State Emergency Management Agency
Director Michael Barrett. "Earthquake Awareness Month is an excellent opportunity to learn
about and prepare for a potential earthquake and many of the safety steps apply to other
emergencies as well."
On Oct. 17, 2013, more than 406, 000 Missourians participated in the Great Central U.S.
ShakeOut earthquake drill, which teaches participants to "Drop, Cover, and Hold On” –
drop to the floor, cover under a desk or table and hold on in the event of an earthquake. But
there are other simple steps that people can take, particularly those who live in or near the New
Madrid Seismic Zone.
· Put together an emergency kit, including a flash-light, first
aid kit, radio, drinking water
· Develop a family communication plan. Identify a relative living
at least 100 miles away;
everyone can call to "check in" to tell family you're safe.
· Bolt bookcases to wall studs,
install strong latches on cupboards and strap the water
heater to wall studs—if it tips over it could start a fire or gas leak, and you could lose a
valuable source of water.
· Know how to turn off your gas and water mains.
· Understand that earthquake coverage is not included in most
policies. It must be purchased as separate coverage, called an "endorsement." This type
of insurance requires that the earthquake is the direct cause of damage to the property.
The Missouri Department of Insurance has more:
Missouri is home to the New Madrid Seismic Zone, centered in southeast Missouri and the
nation's most active earthquake zone east of the Rocky Mountains. At least three of the largest
earthquakes ever recorded in the continental United States are believed to have occurred in that
area in 1811-12 – the largest of which occurred on Feb. 7, 1812.
Events scheduled during Earthquake Awareness Month include:
· Feb. 4 – The Missouri
Seismic Safety Commission holds its quarterly meeting in
Jefferson City at 10 a.m. in Room 494 of the Truman State Office Building, followed by
a reception for the general public on the third floor of the State Capitol at1 p.m.
· Feb. 8 – The St.
Louis Science Center will host an earthquake awareness day from
10 a.m. to 3 p.m., offering hands-on activities that teach participants how to prepare
homes, families and businesses for earthquakes. The event is free and open to all ages.
· Feb. 22 - "The Earth Moves
Under Our Feet” program from 10:30 a.m. to noon at
Onondaga Cave State Park near Leasburg. Representatives from SEMA and the
Missouri Department of Natural Resources' Missouri Geological Survey will present a
program about earthquake history, preparedness, and impacts on society. A video
about earthquakes in the Midwest will be shown. Admission is free. Onondaga Cave
State Park is located seven miles southeast of the Leasburg exit off of Interstate 44 on
In Missouri, a major New Madrid Seismic Zone earthquake would likely be felt throughout the
state, as well as in nearby states to the south and east. Missouri has a comprehensive
earthquake response plan in place to assist the 47 counties that likely would be impacted most
directly. Visit the Department of Natural Resources' website for information about the science
and history of earthquakes in the state at: http://dnr.mo.gov/geology/geosrv/earthquakes.htm.