In conjunction with the second anniversary of that earthquake, the
Illinois Emergency Management Agency will highlight earthquake
preparedness throughout April as part of its 12-Month Preparedness
"We were very fortunate that the 2008 earthquake did little
damage," said IEMA Director Andrew Velasquez III. "But we can't be
complacent about this hazard. A stronger earthquake could damage or
destroy thousands of buildings, roads, bridges and other critical
infrastructure, as well as cause serious injuries and deaths. We
can't prevent an earthquake from occurring, but we can help people
become better informed and prepared to stay safe when it does."
Southern Illinois lies within two seismic zones: the New Madrid,
which stretches from Mississippi to Illinois along the central
Mississippi River Valley, and the Wabash Valley, located between
southeastern Illinois and southwestern Indiana. During the winter of
1811-1812, a series of strong earthquakes, estimated to be in the
7.8-8.1-magnitude range, occurred along the New Madrid Seismic Zone.
Thousands of aftershocks rocked the entire region for several
months. While the area was sparsely populated at the time, most
existing buildings in the area were destroyed.
"While the greatest earthquake risk is in the southern portion of
Illinois, people throughout Illinois need to be aware and learn how
to stay safe," Velasquez said. "People in northern Illinois have
experienced several small earthquakes over the years. They also may
have children who attend college or camp in southern Illinois, may
travel to the area for business, or may visit friends or vacation in
To help people learn more about the earthquake risk
in Illinois and how they can prepare, IEMA recently added a new
"Earthquakes in Illinois" section to its Web site,
The section features comprehensive information about steps people
can take before, during and after an earthquake, as well as an
Home Hazard Hunt" to help people identify and correct hazards in
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Velasquez said one of the most important steps people can take to
prepare for an earthquake or other emergency is to develop a
disaster preparedness kit. The kit should include water,
nonperishable food, flashlights, a battery-operated radio, extra
batteries, a first-aid kit and other supplies to help the occupants
survive for a minimum of three days following a disaster.
An important tip for staying safe indoors during an earthquake
drop down to the floor.
Cover -- Take
cover under a sturdy table or other furniture.
Hold -- Hold on to the furniture
until the ground stops shaking.
After an earthquake, move slowly once the shaking stops and
evacuate your home with caution. Be aware of the potential for
falling objects, such as chimneys and overhangs. Aftershocks are
common following earthquakes and can cause additional damage to
For additional preparedness tips and information about the
earthquake hazard in Illinois, visit
and click on "Earthquakes
Emergency Management Agency
file received from
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]