Prepare for earthquakes – yes in Illinois

In recognition of the earthquake risk in southern Illinois from the New Madrid and Wabash Valley seismic zones, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and local emergency management agencies have been ­promoting earthquake preparedness. “While we don’t ­experience major earthquakes with the same ­frequency as the western U.S., some of the most powerful ­earthquakes to ever occur in the continental U.S. happened along the New Madrid seismic zone about 200 years ago,” said IEMA Director James K. Joseph. “We can’t predict when the next major earthquake will occur, but we can help people learn how to stay safe and reduce damage to their homes.”

Most casualties result from falling objects and debris caused by the earth shaking.

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. You can also prepare by doing such things as ­anchoring ­bookshelves, overhead light fixtures, wall ­hangings and large appliances; learning how to shut off gas, water and electricity and ­placing heavy objects on lower shelves. More information is available at