January 24, 2011

2011 will be unprecedented year for earthquake preparedness in Missouri, including first statewide earthquake drill

February Earthquake Awareness Month events include bicentennial observation of the great New Madrid earthquakes of 1811-12

In 2011, the bicentennial of the great New Madrid earthquakes of 1811-1812, Missourians will take part in important and unprecedented earthquake preparedness events, including a statewide "ShakeOut" drill on April 28 and a five-day training exercise focused on a coordinated local, state and federal response to a 7.7 magnitude New Madrid Seismic Zone earthquake, May 16-20. It all begins in February.
Gov. Jay Nixon has proclaimed February as Earthquake Awareness Month in Missouri, and encourages all Missourians to learn more about how to protect themselves and their families in the event of an earthquake.
"We don't know when the next big earthquake will hit Missouri, but we've got to be ready when it does," said State Emergency Management Agency Director Paul Parmenter. "The bicentennial provides a tremendous opportunity to help citizens, emergency responders and local officials prepare for such a natural disaster, so we can have the best response possible if a major earthquake strikes.”
On Feb. 11, the bicentennial of the great New Madrid earthquakes will be marked at the Earthquakes: Mean Business seminar at St. Louis University. Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator W. Craig Fugate will be among the disaster preparedness and emergency management experts taking part in the seminar focused on disaster preparedness and business continuity planning. The New Madrid Seismic Zone, centered in southeast Missouri, is the nation's most active earthquake zone east of the Rocky Mountains. At least three of the largest earthquakes in history in the continental United States are believed to have occurred in that area in 1811-1812. The largest of the quakes was centered in the southeast Missouri town of New Madrid and occurred on Feb. 7, 1812. The earthquakes altered the flow of the Mississippi River, turned rich farmland into fields of sand and destroyed countless structures. People on the East Coast of the United States felt shaking and church bells reportedly rang as far away as New England. Although no one can predict future earthquakes, scientists say it's only a matter of time before another major quake strikes the area.
In Missouri, a major New Madrid Seismic Zone earthquake would likely be felt throughout the state, as well as 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.
One of the best opportunities for the public to get involved is the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut, on April 28.  Missouri is one of seven Midwestern states that are asking residents to participate in an earthquake drill simultaneously at 10:15 a.m. that day. 
During the ShakeOut, residents should practice the "Drop, Cover, Hold On” technique for 60 seconds.  At precisely 10:15 a.m. April 28, thousands of citizens throughout the Midwest will: ·    DROP to the ground ·    Take COVER by getting under a sturdy desk or table, and ·    HOLD ON to it until the shaking stops
SEMA has produced a three minute video showing a fourth grade class taking part in a "Drop, Cover, Hold On" drill. It can be viewed on SEMA's Earthquake Preparedness Web page: or at   To sign up for the ShakeOut, go to This Web site provides more information about the ShakeOut drill and provides links to other earthquake preparedness information.
In May, officials throughout Missouri will be part of the largest ever national level exercise, focusing on a coordinated response to a 7.7 magnitude New Madrid Seismic Zone earthquake. From May 16-20, national, state and local responders will simulate a coordinated response to such a quake and the resource needs that would follow in its aftermath—including patient care, communications, transportation and logistics.
Earthquake awareness public education events are scheduled around the state during February. More details on these events, as well as many other earthquake resources, are available on the State Emergency Management Agency's Missouri Earthquake Preparedness page:
·    Bolivar – Earthquake Awareness Event, 6 p.m., Feb. 3, Sacred Heart Catholic Church - McKenna Hall, 1405 West Fairplay Street. ·      Jefferson City – the public is invited to a meeting of the Missouri Seismic Commission, 1 p.m., Feb. 4, Central Electric Power Cooperative, 2106 Jefferson Street. ·      Shrewsbury – Earthquake Preparedness Seminar, 6:30 p.m., Feb. 10, Shrewsbury City Center, 5200 Shrewsbury Avenue. ·      St. Louis – New Madrid Bicentennial Kickoff, part of "Earthquakes: Mean Business" seminar, 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Feb. 11, St. Louis University - Busch Student Center, 20 N. Grand Blvd., registration required. Students and SLU faculty may attend at no cost. General attendee registration is $90. ·    Crystal City – Training: Rapid Visual Screening of Disaster Relief Buildings for Potential Seismic Hazards, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Feb. 15, Jefferson Regional Medical Center, 1400 U.S. 61. ·      Statewide – Web Seminar: School Earthquake Safety and Mitigation, 3 p.m., Feb. 17. ·      Leasburg – "The Earth Moves Under Our Feet" earthquake awareness event, 10:30 a.m., Feb. 19, Onondaga Cave State Park, seven miles southeast of the Leasburg exit off of U.S. Interstate 44 on State Highway H. ·      Malden – Earthquake Awareness Day, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Feb. 26, Bootheel Youth Museum, 700A North Douglas.

Editors:  The following link contains Earthquake Awareness Month logos suitable for publication in newspapers, magazines and Web sites:


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