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Earthquakes not out of the question in Missouri

By Lindsey Henry, Jefferson City Reporter
Published On: Aug 06 2014 09:57:14 AM CDT
Updated On: Jul 18 2014 07:19:54 PM CDT

Earthquake risk evident in Missouri, preparedness is key

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -

Several earthquakes were felt in multiple counties around Guthrie, Oklahoma this week, and many are wondering why and what they can do to be prepared.

Earthquakes happen when earth's plates are shifting, but there are questions as to why they're being felt in the middle of the U.S.

The New Madrid Fault lies in southeast Missouri, and the closer you live to it, the higher potential you have at feeling the earth tremble.

"We have faults all over Missouri under the state beneath us, most of them are too small to generate any force when any movement happens there," said Steve Besemer, Earthquake Program Manager at SEMA.

In Missouri, we plan for all sorts of natural disasters; tornadoes, winter storms, and now one that is going to have to be more often; earthquake drills.

With more movement being felt as years pass, the principal at Calvary Lutheran High School, Erich Ahlers, said at the very beginning of every school year, students learn the drills.

"If an immediate tremor happens, there is usually not enough time to safely evacuate from the building that second, so our large classrooms that have tables that are very strong and they immediately take cover under their tables. If it passes, then we'd go outside to the safety of the ball field where there are no electricity lines, buildings that can fall down, it's a nice safe spot for everyone," said Ahlers.

Besemer said, "If there are some things that are kind of vulnerable; bookcases, or things that could tip over if shaken a little bit, or if they are in an older structure that maybe isn't doing too well, might not survive a little bit of shaking, so that's kind of the first step. To learn about earthquakes and what they can do and then kind of walk through and see if you're ready, because the big thing about earthquakes is that we don't get any sort of warning when they happen."

You can follow three easy steps when you feel shaking. 

1) Drop to the ground

2) Take cover underneath something sturdy.

3) Hold on tight to something because it could be a bumpy ride.

Many schools and businesses in Missouri are taking part in the Great Shake Out this October. It's a nationwide day aimed at education and preparation.

Almost 900,000 people have already signed up, and you can get involved by clicking here.

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