FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — Officials in Kentucky are among those in eight states taking part in a 10-day earthquake preparedness event.
It’s being called the largest full-scale exercise in a decade.
“Hopefully we won’t ever experience a New Madrid, but the best science will tell us it’s not if, it’s when,” said Michael Dossett, director of Kentucky Emergency Management, referencing the region’s major fault line.
In Frankfort, 140 people representing 60 agencies were simulating a large quake in the emergency operations center.
For 10 days, they will work hand-in-hand to demonstrate how they would operate if a disaster happened.
“A catastrophic earthquake will impact Kentucky to the point where we will actually have liquefaction that renders some of our area where citizens are waiting to be rescued, and they have water where they’ve never had water before,” said Dossett.
The simulated 7.7 magnitude temblor in the New Madrid seismic zone is an opportunity to review how federal, local and state agencies respond.
And although it’s a mock exercise, the participants were treating it seriously.
“You could have fooled me,” said Daniel Kaniewski, FEMA deputy director for resilience. “This looks like an activated emergency operation center. They are taking it seriously. By taking it seriously, that means they will be able to actually test those plans in a way that will stress the system that a real-world event absolutely would.”
All the training, planning and procedures are being tested and evaluated. In the end, officials will address areas for improvement.