SPRINGFIELD – Illinois is susceptible to several types of natural hazards, including floods, tornadoes, snow and ice storms, droughts, even earthquakes.
While it’s impossible to avoid such events, there are several steps communities and people can take to prevent injuries or deaths and reduce property losses.
Throughout January, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency will offer tips for protecting homes and businesses and highlight successful hazard mitigation efforts as part of its 2013 Preparedness Campaign.
“Try as we might, we’ll never be able to avoid the wrath of Mother Nature,” said IEMA Director Jonathon Monken. “But there are many ways we can limit the impact of these weather events, ranging from inexpensive, do-it-yourself home projects to community-wide efforts.”
Knowing the natural hazards in your area is the first step toward reducing your risk. One hazard affecting much of Illinois, particularly the southern half of the state, is earthquakes. While many people think the U.S. earthquake risk is primarily on the West Coast, a catastrophic earthquake is possible in the Central U.S.
In fact, during the winter of 1811-1812, a series of earthquakes centered near New Madrid, Mo., rocked the Central U.S. and was felt as far away as the East Coast. The New Madrid Seismic Zone stretches from along the Mississippi River valley from Southern Illinois to Mississippi. The Wabash Valley Seismic Zone, located in Southeastern Illinois, also poses an earthquake risk for the state.
IEMA is encouraging people to register for the third annual Great Central U.S. ShakeOut, a multi-state earthquake drill that will take place at 10:15 a.m. on Feb. 7. The date for the 2013 ShakeOut drill coincides with the 201st anniversary of the Feb. 7, 1812, earthquake near New Madrid, Mo., the last of that series of major earthquakes.
To date, more than 130,000 Illinois participants are registered for the drill. Last year, more
than 2.4 million people in nine states participated in the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut, including nearly 500,000 in Illinois.
While the “Drop, Cover and Hold On” drill only takes a few minutes, Monken said participants can also learn about ways to reduce the earthquake hazards in their homes and work places.
To register for the drill, visit www.shakeout.org/centralus.
More information about hazard mitigation is available on the Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illinois.gov.