Preparing for the Next Major Earthquake

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By Stephanie Tyrpak
By Randy Livingston

JACKSON CO. -- The U.S. Geological Survey just updated its map on earthquake risks across the country. The map estimates a wider damage zone if there's a quake along the New Madrid Fault in Southeast Missouri.

Illinois ranks in the top 16 for the risk of a major earthquake in the next 50 years. That potential didn't change much from 2008.
 
However, the map can still be an important tool in helping local groups get ready for an event that will come without warning.
 
Southern Illinois is no stranger to natural disasters, like tornados and ice storms. 
 
However, preparing for an earthquake here is a little more complicated. A big one on the New Madrid Fault hasn't shook the region in two centuries.
 
"We're relying on experts, and you know computer models, and things like that," said Jackson County EMA Deputy Coordinator Shawn Priddy. 
 
On most charts and maps, Jackson County is at high risk for extensive damage.
 
Emergency Managers have to take that into account for their all-hazard plan.
 
"It could be anything," said Priddy. "I mean from building collapses, we could have water distribution issues."
     
One of the biggest concerns for Priddy is the possible loss of roads and other infrastructure. Agencies are working on response plans now.
 
"We're gonna need state and federal help if we have the big one," said Priddy. "So getting the resources in, you know, that's a lot of our planning process."
 
Some local homeowners are also taking steps to protect their property.
    
"For a $200,000 house, you'd be looking at about $120 a year," said Cindy Parrone with Deiderich Insurance. 
     
Earthquake plans can be added to your homeowners insurance. Parrone includes the option on quotes.
 
"People that made a significant investment into their home or built it themselves, it is a popular choice of coverage," said Parrone. 
 
The policy usually has a high deductible because southern Illinois is a high risk zone. Still, it could be valuable help in rebuilding and in providing peace of mind.
 
"No one knows for sure if an earthquake is going to happen within our lifetime," said Parrone. 
 
The best way you can prepare for a big earthquake is to figure out a plan now. Think about where you would take cover and what emergency supplies you would already have at your home.
Marion Regional
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