SPRINGFIELD – During the winter of 1811-12, some of the largest earthquakes ever recorded in North America rocked the Central U.S., including parts of southern Illinois. The series of earthquakes were each estimated to be around magnitude 8.0, strong enough to ring church bells 1,000 miles away in Boston. While the affected area was largely rural at the time, a similar earthquake today would cause widespread devastation throughout the region.
Recognizing this seismic risk, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) today announced it will promote earthquake preparedness throughout February as part of its 2014 preparedness campaign.
“While it comes as a surprise to many people, Illinois has a very real risk for a major earthquake,” said IEMA Director Jonathon Monken. “We’re working to increase awareness of the earthquake potential in Illinois, as well as how people can protect themselves and reduce damage to their homes.”
Monken said people need to remember to “Drop, Cover and Hold On” when they feel the ground shaking. The phrase prompts people to “Drop” down to the floor, take “Cover” under a sturdy desk, table or other furniture, and “Hold On” to the furniture item and be prepared to move with it until the shaking ends.
IEMA has developed interactive tools that identify earthquake hazards in homes and schools and provide information on how to reduce these risks. The earthquake home and school hazard hunts are available on the Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illinois.gov.
The website also contains earthquake preparedness tips and information about the New Madrid and Wabash Valley seismic zones that impact Illinois. For additional preparedness information, follow IEMA on Facebook (www.facebook.com/ReadyIllinois) and Twitter (twitter.com/ReadyIllinois).