Emergency officials in Audrain County took part in the Capstone exercise event last Tuesday to go through scenarios that could affect the area if a 7.6 earthquake hit the New Madrid fault area.
The eight state functional exercise was held to test response and recovery. States included are Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Alabama.
The active play run by the Multiagency Communication Center Region F in partnership with the State Emergency Opera-tions Center (SEOC) featured an operational period at the Audrain County Emergency Operations Center.
“Obviously, Audrain County and the infrastructure of Audrain County is our prirority,” said Audrain County Emergency Management Coordinator Steve Shaw during the exercise.
Topics discussed included traffic flow of the areas after the impact, possible fuel shortage in the county, refugees, looting, need for a public information speaker for the county, structural damage, pipeline concerns, railroad scenarios, Red Cross shelters, shelters for locals and those coming into the county, chemical company evaluations, potential riots, power outage anticipation, facillity needs for emergency committee workers, and more during the session.
It is expected there could be nearly 850,000 being displaced within the first three days after the earthquake.
Shaw expressed concerns for the county during the exercise as not all emergency departments are represented by individuals in committees such as the Multiagency Communicaiton Committee for Region F. Those attending the exercise included county emergency and health officials, media representatives, law enforcement, and more.
According to current scientific understanding of the Central United States Earthquake Consortium (CUSEC), the New Madrid Seismic Zone is capable of producing damaging earthquakes at any time.
The earthquakes of 1811-12 were estimated to be between a 7.0-8.0 and occurred in an area that was sparsely populated. Were these earthquakes to occur today, their effects would be considered catastrophic, directly affecting several million people across eight states and indirectly affecting millions of others.