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Earthquake EXERCISE in KY: Preparing for the Big ONE

Earthquakes, unlike the weather, can't be predicted by the experts; but statewide EXERCISE on May 16, 2011, sets up scenario of what COULD happen in a 7.7 Earthquake. National Level Exercise (NLE) expected to be the largest in history

News from Kentucky Emergency Management

FRANKFORT, KY. (April 1, 2011) - (Special Note: This information pertains toan earthquake EXERCISE). As part of a national level EXERCISE on May 16,2011, a major earthquake will rock the mid-South and unleash an unprecedentedlevel of destruction upon more than eight states. Unlike other forecasts ofdoom, this prediction is based on the certainty of a National Level Exercise(NLE) scheduled to put local, state and federal officials through the pacesof responding to a catastrophic earthquake in the heart of the United States.

Unlike the weather, experts cannot predict when and where an earthquake mayoccur. However, we can tell you with certainty what will happen in Kentuckyduring the EXERCISE on May 16, 2011:

A 7.7 earthquake will strike the New Madrid Seismic Zone in WesternKentucky and the impact on the Commonwealth during the EXERCISE will include:
  • Approximately 235,000 people will seek shelter
  • 330,000 households will be without power
  • Approximately 6,500 will be injured
  • Approximately 300 deaths will occur
  • 68,500 buildings will be damaged
  • Critical infrastructure will be damaged or destroyed
  • 250 bridges damaged or destroyed, limiting transportation into and out of the impacted area
  • Communications will be greatly impaired or fail
  • Emergency responders will scramble to get information from the area and local emergency management will be limited getting information out
Scary scenario isn't it? That is the scenario Kentucky will use to drive theupcoming National Level Exercise 2011 (NLE 2011) scheduled this May 16through 20.

The Tier I exercise, known as NLE 2011, will simulate the decisions andactions that top officials should be prepared to take in the first 96-hoursafter such a devastating earthquake. This is the first NLE to focus on anatural hazard, rather than a terrorism-focused scenario.

"Is Kentucky ready for a 7.7 earthquake? No. Are we more prepared than weused to be? Absolutely!" said John Heltzel, director for Kentucky Emergency Management (KYEM). Hecontinued, "The ice storm of Jan. 2009 taught us many valuable lessons whichwe have continued to build from. One in particular is Resource Management.In Kentucky we now have a fully staffed resource management section - priorto the 2009 Ice Storm, we didn't."

To assist the federal government with prioritizing resources for impactedareas, Kentucky and the other seven states in the Central United StatesEarthquake Consortium (CUSEC) have participated in numerous workshops andplanning sessions, including the Resource Allocation Workshop (RAW) held inNashville last November with more than 400 participants from federal andstate agencies.

The NLE 2011 will include activities with local responders, federal and stateemergency management officials, private sector partners at multiple venuesaround the region, as well as in Washington D.C. and various FEMA regionaloffices.

The exercise is designed to assess response and recovery capabilities bothnationally and regionally. Kentucky will use the exercise to update andrewrite the Commonwealth Catastrophic Earthquake Response Plan.

The NLE 2011 is expected to be the largest joint exercise in United States'history, and for the first time it is being based on a natural event.Everyone from private citizens, businesses, all private sector and centers ofgovernment are invited to participate and exercise their own earthquakepreparations.

For more information on the NLE 2011 and to register as a participant, You will also find external information, relatedsocial media sites and links to Kentucky's Earthquake Preparedness Program.

This story was posted on 2011-04-04 04:36:13
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