Murray is undergoing city-wide disaster drills tomorrow to examine how local agencies respond to a significant earthquake event.
Western Kentucky lies just east of the New Madrid Seismic Zone which has produced over 4,000 recorded earthquakes. The fault is speculated to produce another large event sometime in the future.
Murray State University Emergency Manager Jeff Steen is working in conjunction with county, city and state emergency management agencies with hundreds of responders and volunteers playing a role.
“The earthquake drill will be primarily around the city of Murray because we don’t want our emergency services spread out throughout the county if we had something happen because they’re still on call," said Steen. "So what we’ll have tomorrow is we’ll have several different areas where we’ll simulate an earthquake, there will be role-players and we’ll also some people moulaged up to look as if they’re injured. We’ll turn them loose and see what happens.”
He says families should also take this time to evaluate or form their own disaster plans.
“On a personal level, the person should have some sort of idea or plan of where the families going to meet after the earthquake," said Steen. "Do we have water, some food, light and some means of gathering communication? So a person needs to be prepared, and we can get information on how to be prepared from the FEMA website, the Red Cross website, Homeland Security website, they have good information on how to put a kit together.”
Steen says the drill is designed for a 5.5 leveled earthquake or higher, but not for one on a catastrophic scale.
In 1812, the fault created a 7.4-8.6 level earthquake that destroyed the town of New Madrid, Missouri.
Disaster-response scenarios will take place at several sites across Murray. Emergency vehicles will respond to normal traffic, although emergency lights may be used for safety.
The drill begins at 5:30 tomorrow evening.