Tuesday, Feb. 7 is the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut day that has been set aside for governments, schools, organizations and citizens to practice earthquake drills and earthquake preparedness.
Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Oklahoma will be participating in a nine-state earthquake drill at 10:15 a.m.
The cities of Waynesville and St. Robert are participating in the drill with various activities including the discussion about preparation and plans that have yet to be announced.
According to ShakeOut information, “scientists estimate that there is a 25-40 percent probability of a damaging earthquake occurring in the central U.S. within the next 50 years.”
The last time the New Madrid fault quaked was 200 years ago and it was a 7.2 on the Richter scale. If records are accurate and New Madrid should produce a similar quake again, Pulaski County falls in the light damage zone and residents could expect to feel tremors and a little shaking.
Structures that aren't sturdy or are very old may experience more damage, but as a whole ,the community is not likely to experience massive damage.
During an earthquake, people should drop to the ground, take cover under something sturdy, and hold on to it until the shaking stops, according to ShakeOut information.
Pulaski County Emergency Management Director Lawson “Smitty” Smith said this time of year is a good time for people to think about disaster preparedness in general.
Smith pointed out that preparations for disasters like earthquakes, tornadoes or major weather events are similar.
“Preparing for an earthquake isn't any different than preparing for a tornado,” Smith said.
Smith said the most important thing people need to do to prepare for a disaster is to “have a plan.”
Detailed instructions and advice about creating a plan can be found at www.ready.gov, the government's website devoted to disaster preparation.
According to ready.gov, several plans are necessary in order to be ready in case of disaster. One plan should be in case of an evacuation and the other should be for when people will have to stay wherever they are like work, home or in the car.
Instances that could require evacuation in the local area include flooding, tornado damage, or a significant weather event like the ice storm of 2007 in which many areas were without power in freezing temperatures for almost two weeks.
Lawson recommends people maintain a disaster kit. This kit contains essentials for survival after a disaster, is portable and can be stored somewhere easily accessible. “
A disaster kit should have enough supplies for 72 hours,” Lawson said.
Seventy-two hours is the length of time recommended by ready.gov as well because emergency workers may not be able to reach people immediately and three days is the maximum response time for most agencies.
Page 2 of 2 - Ready.gov also recommends more than one disaster kit. A kit for the car, the office, and home are highly recommended.
For a complete list of suggestions concerning disaster preparation, kit items and planning go to www.ready.gov.