Officials Discuss Earthquake Preparedness

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -- Earthquakes often strike without warning and can cause billions of dollars in damage, as seen in yesterday's California quake.

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It is an area of study that geologist are actively examining and researching.

"Earthquakes are caused by a sudden release of what we call seismic energy in the earth's interior. It is essentially like an explosion, so, any time you have something bursting out like that, the energy has to go somewhere," WKU Geology professor, Dr. Michael May, said.

Although their locations cannot be predicted, Professor May says our area should be taken into consideration.

"We have what is called the New Madrid Seismic zone, or fault zone, which is western Kentucky, Tennessee, and southeast Missouri. The other one is called the Wabash Valley fault zone, which is pretty much what we call the Tri-state area: Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky. That area is actually on the Illinois/Indiana border," Dr. May said.

Emergency management officials encourage residents to think ahead.

"The key point is for an individual to be prepared, have a plan of what you, your family, or your co-workers intend to do if an event like this happens. Have a disaster kit, supplies and things you'll need to be self-sustaining. Then, practice that plan with your family or your co-workers so that everybody understands each others role, and everybody is protected as they can be," Warren County EMA director, Ronnie Pearson, said.

EMA officials are working closely with state agencies and non-profits who have faced similar situations.

"We encourage anyone to have at least a 72-hour supply of food and water, but you can think longer than that if you're really preparing for a larger disaster," South Central Kentucky American Red Cross Executive Director, Jennifer Capps, said.

Following a disaster, there are plans in place to protect the community.

"The Red Cross would be there to provide food and shelter for those people displaced," Capps said.

The American Red Cross has a free app available for download designed to help those who are interested prepare for an earthquake.

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