New Madrid fault

Illinois Emergency Management Agency Promotes Earthquake Preparedness In February

Back when I worked for a fire department in the Chicago suburbs, I looked into the threat from earthquakes to our municipality as part of an emergency preparedness grant application the agency was submitting. The consensus seemed to be that damage to our area would be minimal to non-existant from a big tremblor out of the New Madrid seismic zone. However, I noticed southern Illiniois could be a different story. From a February 2 Illinois Emergency Management Agency press release on the Illinois Government News Network website:

IEMA Encourages People to Prepare for Earthquakes
Preparedness actions can prevent injuries, reduce property damage

SPRINGFIELD – In recognition of the earthquake risk in southern Illinois from the New Madrid and Wabash Valley seismic zones, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and local emergency management agencies will promote earthquake preparedness throughout February.

“While we don’t experience major earthquakes with the same frequency as the western U.S., some of the most powerful earthquakes to ever occur in the continental U.S. happened along the New Madrid seismic zone about 200 years ago,” said IEMA Director James K. Joseph. “We can’t predict when the next major earthquake will occur, but we can help people learn how to stay safe and reduce damage to their homes.”

In conjunction with Earthquake Preparedness Month in Illinois, IEMA is adding a new 30-second TV spot to the Ready Illinois broadcast preparedness campaign, which is aired in cooperation with the Illinois Broadcasters Association (IBA) Public Education Partnership (PEP) program. The new spot directs people to the Ready Illinois website for information on how to prepare their homes for an earthquake. It will air on IBA member TV stations serving residents of southern Illinois, where the greatest risk of earthquakes in Illinois exists. The spot is also available on the Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illinois.gov.

Joseph noted that the actual movement of the ground in an earthquake is seldom the direct cause of death or injury. Most casualties result from falling objects and debris caused by the earth shaking.

Learning how to “Drop, Cover and Hold On” can help people prevent injury during an earthquake. The phrase reminds people to drop down to the floor, take cover under a sturdy desk, table or other furniture, and hold on to that object and be prepared to move with it until the shaking ends.

There are several steps people can take to help prevent injuries and property damage at home, such as anchoring bookshelves, overhead light fixtures, wall hanging and large appliances, learning how to shut off gas, water and electricity and placing heavy objects on lower shelves.

More information about earthquake preparedness is available at www.Ready.Illinois.gov

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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15 Fukushima-Style Nuclear Power Plants Located In New Madrid Fault Zone

“As Japan’s crippled Fukushima reactor continues to leak radioactive water into the sea, Americans are beginning to worry over potential health risks when radioactive particles reach the West Coast of North America next year.

Concern has been mounting after it was reported that subcontractors at the plant had admitted to having under-reported radiation and that dozens of farms that were initially considered safe had unsafe levels of radioactive cesium.

There have been unconfirmed reports of higher cancer rates among Fukushima locals…”

-The Voice Of Russia website, December 1, 2013

Enough of blogging about my local scene and financial topics. Let’s turn to preparedness now.

Back when I worked for a suburban fire department a few years back I used to do a good deal of the grant writing. From time to time we would be eligible for funds to upgrade the department’s/municipality’s emergency preparedness and response capabilities. As part of the grant approval process, we would have to identify potential threats to the community. I would always point out the danger (although somewhat remote) posed by earthquakes. Yes, the Chicagoland area does have its share of tremors- the last notable one being a 3.2 magnitude quake on November 4. When putting together those grant applications, I was always more concerned of rumblers originating quite a bit south of the Chicago-area, like southern Illinois.

Enter the New Madrid fault.

The other day, I happened to be reading an article on the “NewsWatch” section of the National Geographic website. Neil Lineback wrote on November 30:

The New Madrid (MAH dred) fault is one of the most dangerous in the world. Located beneath the upper end of the Mississippi delta, the fault extends from Cairo, Ill., to Marked Tree, Ark., a distance of 130 miles (220 km)…

According to an article from ABC News Radio Online (March 2011), a major earthquake along the New Madrid fault line today would be catastrophic, potentially affecting more than 15 million people in eight states: Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee. The USGS reports that the people most at risk from a quake of magnitude 7.0 or 8.0, however, are the approximately one million people living in the Memphis metro area…

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) also predicts that a major quake at New Madrid could displace 7.2 million people and destroy at least 15 major bridges.

Another problem altogether could result from the 15 nuclear power plants around the New Madrid region. All of the power plants are of the same or similar design as the ones that failed after Japan’s recent earthquake and resulting tsunami, according to ABC News.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

I checked out that ABC News article Lineback was referring to. What ABC News Radio actually said was:

There are 15 nuclear power plants in the New Madrid fault zone — three in Alabama alone — that are of the same or similar design as the site in Japan experiencing problems.

Not good.

And for any first responders out there reading this blog post, you may be interested in what was also mentioned in the piece:

In September, FEMA’s associate administrator for Response and Recovery, William Carwile, told a Senate panel that FEMA has five regional groups planning for possible earthquake responses, but a major quake along the New Madrid fault line could displace 7.2 million people and knock out 15 bridges. The response would require 42,000 first responders from local firefighters to the Pentagon.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

42,000 first responders!

Located in the “Geological Survey Program” section of the Missouri Department of Natural Resrouces website is a page entitled, “Facts about the New Madrid Seismic Zone.” From that resource:

The NMSZ appears to be about 30 years overdue for a magnitude 6.3 quake because the last quake of this size occurred 100 hundred years ago at Charleston, Missouri, on Oct. 31, 1895 (it was a magnitude 6.7). A magnitude 6.3 quake near Lepanto, Arkansas, on Jan. 5, 1843, was the next prior earthquake of this magnitude. About 75 percent of the estimated recurrence time for a magnitude 7.6 earthquake has elapsed since the last quake of this size occurred in 1812.

The earthquake that severly damaged New Zealand’s second-largest city- Christchurch- in 2011 and killed 185 people was a magnitude 6.3 event.

Any police or fire departments in the New Madrid fault region have any funds available for “new hires”?

How about gear to protect against radiation?

Just thought I’d ask.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

“Are Americans safe from Fukushima radiation?” The Voice Of Russia. 1 Dec. 2013. (http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2013_12_01/Are-Americans-safe-from-Fukushima-radiation-0907/). 2 Dec. 2013.

Lineback, Neal. “Geography in the News: New Madrid Earthquake.” National Geographic. 30 Nov. 2013. (http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2013/11/30/geography-in-the-news-new-madrid-earthquake/). 3 Dec. 2013.

“Potential Catastrophe: Earthquake Could Devastate Parts of US.” ABC News Radio. 15 Mar. 2011. (http://abcnewsradioonline.com/national-news/potential-catastrophe-earthquake-could-devastate-parts-of-us.html). 3 Dec. 2013.

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