How the Natural State prepares for natural disasters


FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — The most active seismic zones east of the Rockies runs through part of the Natural State.

According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS) the seismic zone zigzags through Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Illinois.

Scientists agree there is a continuing concern for a major earthquake and in the New Madrid seismic zone.

USGS predicts there is a chance of having an earthquake in the next 50 years.

The 6.4 and 7.1 magnitude earthquakes in California were a wake up call for Arkansas, according to Washington County Emergency Management (WCEM) Director John Luther.

In the 1800’s an earthquake happened on the New Madrid seismic zone and many structures were damaged.

“It was a very significant earthquake at the time and we expect if it hits again, a lot of people will be affected,” Luther said.

People in California think about earthquakes all the time.

“In any other city it would have been devastating, and here we’re kind of a little bit more prepared,” a California earthquake survivor said.

Luther said here in Arkansas, the state is just as prepared.

“It’s certainly stays on our radar, it’s an ongoing constant planning effort that we have,” he said.

A planning effort with all state partners joining together to respond to the affected areas.

He said another thing to remember when preparing for a natural disaster like this is to be prepared ahead time, by making sure you have a go bag, including nonperishable food items, and water with you.

Luther said it is important for you to be able to hold your own because when seconds count, they can be minutes away.

“In an earthquake, it may be when minutes count, we are hours away or when hours count we are days away,” he said.

Luther said he is confident in the people and confident in the training the state has if an earthquake were to happen.

For a full look of the science of the New Madrid seismic zone, click here.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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