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Hundreds of people across the county will dive under their furniture during an imaginary earthquake at 11:15 a.m. April 28.
They’ll then take a few minutes to consider what they would do if they were in a real earthquake at home, at work, in the car, at the store or anywhere else as part of the Central U.S. Shakeout.
The event includes 11 states that are considered to be in danger of experiencing an earthquake, including Kentucky. The state rests on some fault lines, including the New Madrid fault.
The event is meant to encourage people to consider how they would survive, contact or reunite with their families and tough out the disaster until help was available if an earthquake struck. Participants are supposed to consider what they would do if ATMs weren’t working, bridges crumbled and other conveniences they take for granted weren’t available, said Rusty Todd, chief fire inspector for the Elizabethtown Fire Department.
“That’s what the real intent is, to get people thinking,” he said. “It’s just trying to stay ready. In the event it happens, where would we go? What would we do?”
Todd said emergency responders would have to take care of people who are elderly and infirm right after a major disaster. It would reduce demand on services if most of the population could support itself for at least three days, he said.
That independence also would allow residents to help neighbors until help arrived, Todd said.
“No one wants to have to go to a shelter if they don’t have to because it’s not their home,” he said.
In the event of an earthquake, people should drop to the ground, get under something sturdy and hold on, Todd said.
After the 2009 ice storm, Todd was without power for eight days. He then used a tax refund to expand his home emergency kit to an eight-day kit.
Todd suggests individuals who can’t afford to buy emergency kit items all at once purchase a few items at a time during the course of a year.
Todd said the Elizabethtown Fire Department is working closely with emergency responders throughout the county to spread the word about the event and get as much participation as possible.
The event was being planned before recent earthquakes in Japan and New Zealand. John Heltzel, director of the state Division of Emergency Management, said those events have showed participants the value of the activity.
The goal is not to scare people. It’s to make sure they are prepared for an earthquake or another type of disaster, Heltzel said.
Amber Coulter can be reached at (270) 505-1746 or email@example.com.
A basic disaster kit includes
Source: Federal Emergency Management Agency