Emergency Coordinators Meet About Earthquakes

Emergency Coordinators Meet About Earthquakes
By: Ryan Tate

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO --For the second time in three days, earthquake experts met to discuss what would happen if the "Big One" ever hit the Heartland. The first was a public forum Monday in Dyersburg. Wednesday, Emergency Coordinators from the Heartland met in Cape Girardeau to discuss tremors.
One reason they held the seminar was because they had not held one in a while.
"The last bit of earthquake training we had was back in the 1990's," Mark Winkler said. Winkler is the Area Director for the State Emergency Management Agency, or SEMA.
"If people aren't faced with the magnitude of an earthquake, they can't imagine it. It's not like a tornado," Winkler said.
According to a few emergency coordinators, the reason earthquakes have not been on top of their list of priorities. Terrorism, flooding and tornados top that list, mostly because that is what people deal with annually.
"That's the demon. We don't have the activity to keep people aware," Kennett Police Chief John Mallott said.
"It's not if but when, I don't know if you can be totally prepared, but maybe better prepared," Jack Lakenan said. Lakenan is the Perry County, Missouri, 911 coordinator.
According to Federal Emergency Management officials, there are four place in the United States that a catastrophic event would happen if a natural disaster hit: an earthquake in Los Angeles, a hurricane in Miami or New Orleans, and a major earthquake in the New Madrid Seismic Zone. Earthquake experts tell Heartland News the odds of a "Big One" hitting the Heartland in the next 50 years is about 7%.