Brett Blume

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMOX) –  In 1811, a series of earthquakes centered in the southeast Missouri town of New Madrid caused widespread devastation, and even altered the landscape.

“As far as the way the land looked, the way the rivers flowed,” says Steve Besemer, Earthquake Program Manager for the State Emergency Management Agency.

2011 marks the 200th anniversary of the “Great New Madrid Earthquakes”, and Missourians will be asked to take part in unprecedented quake preparedness events, including a statewide “ShakeOut” drive in late April.

Besemer says during the ShakeOut, residents should practice the “Drop, Cover, Hold On” technique for at least one minute.

He adds that it pays to be prepared, since another major quake in the New Madrid Seismic Zone is a matter of “when”, not “if”.

“A basic first step is to think about some emergency planning,” according to Besemer.  “Think about communication plans for your family, how you would communicate if the power was out, the phones were out, the roads were closed.”

At precisely 10:15 am on April 28th, thousands of citizens throughout the Midwest will:

DROP to the ground

Take COVER under a sturdy desk or table

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 at SEMA’s Earthquake Preparedness web page:

Then in May, officials throughout Missouri will be part of the largest ever national level exercise, focusuing 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 the aftermath, including patient care, communications, transportation and logistics.

There will also be a series of earthquake awareness public education events, including in St. Louis University on Feb. 11.

The New Madrid Bicentennical Kickoff, part of a seminar entitled “Earthquakes: Mean Business”, will be held from 8:30 am-5:30 pm at the Busch Student Center.

Registration is required with a $90 general attendee registration fee.

 Gov. Jay Nixon has proclaimed February as “Earthquake Awareness Month” in Missouri.

Copyright KMOX Radio

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