While some hazards such as storms, tornadoes and floods can be forecasted in order to provide advance noticed to residents in an area of danger, other hazards such as earthquakes cannot be predicted.
Recent earthquakes in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean are examples that earthquakes can happen anywhere, including while you are at work, at home or on vacation.
The United States Geological Survey estimates that 500,000 detectable earthquakes occur in the world each year. The National Earthquake Information Center locates about 20,000 earthquakes each year — about 55 each day.
Records indicate Illinois, and several other states in the central United States, experienced some of the largest earthquakes ever measured in North America.
In recognition of the earthquake risk still posed today by 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.
“Creating an environment of education, awareness and preparedness will save lives in Illinois,” said Alicia Tate-Nadeau, Acting Director of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency. “While we cannot predict when the next major quake will occur, we can help people learn how to protect themselves and reduce damage to their homes.”
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.
Most casualties result from falling objects and debris caused by the earth shaking. There are several steps people can take to help prevent injuries and property damage at home, including strapping water heaters and large appliances to wall studs, fastening shelves to wall studs and securing cabinet doors, and learning how to shut off gas, water and electricity in case lines are damaged.
Each year the Illinois Emergency Management Agency leads an initiative to register homes, businesses, schools and organizations in the world’s largest earthquake drill. This year’s earthquake drill will take place on Thursday, Oct. 15 at 10:15 a.m.
In Grundy County, residents can be prepared for any disaster by downloading the Grundy County EMA's free interactive app, available on Android and Apple operating platforms. This app sends push notifications of alerts and emergency information directly to your wireless device.
Also available with the app are preparedness topics, important area preparedness information links, contact information for many Grundy County Departments, and current weather including a view of local radar.
Grundy County EMA also offers NIXLE Alerts, which sends alerts to your wireless devices via text and e-mail to alert the public of urgent situations, emergency instructions and community information.
Residents can sign up to NIXLE at local.nixle.com/register or text their zip code to 888777.
Earthquake safety tips will also be posted throughout February on the Ready Illinois Facebook and Twitter pages.