Indiana is situated near the Madrid seismic zone in New Madrid, Missouri. Although this fault zone last produced a major earthquake in 1812, the potential for a very damaging earthquake continues to exist. Should a major earthquake occur in the New Madrid fault area, Southwestern Indiana would be most vulnerable, however most of Indiana could be affected to varying degrees depending on the magnitude of the quake. Small quakes are reported from time to time throughout Indiana.
Can an earthquake happen here?
Yes, Hancock County, and all of Indiana, may feel the effects of an earthquake. Hancock County Emergency Management is working to increase public awareness of the threat posed by an earthquake.
Preparedness and planning are crucial for reduction of the threat to life and property posed by an earthquake. Because an earthquake strikes without warning it is crucial that our homes, schools and businesses develop plans and be prepared to react appropriately.
What can we do to prepare?
1. Identify and correct hazards
Before an earthquake strikes you can check your home, school or business for hazards that may cause injury during an earthquake. Typical hazards include wall mounted objects, items suspended from the ceiling, glass from breaking windows, freestanding bookshelves, file cabinets, and other objects which may break or fall causing injury. Many of these hazards can be corrected by properly anchoring the objects to the wall or ceiling.
2. Develop an Earthquake Plan
Plan ahead for what you will do should an earthquake strike. Remember earthquakes strike without warning so it is important to develop a plan now. Carefully consider the needs of small children, the elderly and those with disabilities.
Incorporate the following in your plan:
- When indoors during an earthquake DUCK to the floor, take COVER under a desk or sturdy table, and HOLD on to it until the shaking stops. Remember the phrase DUCK, COVER, AND HOLD. Regular practice drills should be held.
- When outdoors during an earthquake move rapidly, but safely out into the open, away from buildings, power lines and trees. Drop to the ground and stay there until the shaking stops.
- If you are in a moving vehicle during an earthquake stop as quickly and safely as possible and pull to the side of the road. Stay away from utility poles, overhead wires, and underpasses or overpasses. Stay in your vehicle, set the parking brake and wait until the shaking stops. If you drive on after the shaking stops watch carefully for hazards created by the earthquake.
- Your plan should include what you will do after the earthquake.
- Determine all exit routes and be sure everyone is familiar with them. Plan for how you will account for everyone. Develop a location where you will reunite with others. Learn how to shut off the gas, water and electricity.
- You should plan and prepare to be self- sufficient and react independently for at least 72 hours due to the extreme demands placed on local emergency responders. Stay off the telephone unless you must report an emergency.
- If possible, listen to the radio for instructions. For your safety, always obey any order of evacuation that may be issued.
- Be prepared for possible aftershocks that may cause additional damage or destroy already weakened structures.
- Do not attempt to move any injured or unconscious people unless they are in immediate danger.
- Please respond to any requests for volunteer assistance, but do not enter any damaged area unless instructed to do so.
3. Put together an emergency kit
The kit should include a three day supply of drinking water, food you don’t have to refrigerate or cook, first aid supplies, blankets, clothing, a wrench and other basic tools, a flashlight, work gloves, emergency cooking equipment, essential medications, portable radio, extra batteries, and a fire extinguisher. Many other items may be included in your kit to meet your specific needs.
Please check out the Earthquakes for Kids site hosted by the USGS.