Response plan boost to state’s preparedness

Indiana is scheduled to experience an earthquake next month — Oct. 15 to be exact.

No, we aren’t some modern-day Nostradamus predicting unpredictable calamities. The “earthquake” really will be an exercise across the central U.S. called the Great Central U.S. Shake Out. It’s a reminder to Hoosiers and others in the region that the Midwest includes some of the most notable earthquake fault zones.

The most famous is the New Madrid fault, site of a series of quakes and aftershocks beginning Dec. 16, 1811, that were so violent church bells rang as far east as Philadelphia. The uplift caused the Mississippi River to flow north for a while.

The area was much less populated then, which is why it is vital that people today prepare for a calamity that would inflict far more physical damage and human suffering than the earlier cataclysm.

The Wabash Valley seismic zone, while smaller than the New Madrid, poses a significant risk to much of southern Indiana.

In advance of the Shake Out, September is National Preparedness Month. Families are asked to prepare or review emergency plans in the case of fire, violent storms and power outages. The culmination occurs Sept. 30 with National PrepareAthon Day, when people are asked to stage their own emergency drills.

An effective family disaster plan needs to take into account all members of the family and pets. Key elements include food, water, shelter and short-term financial resources.This also would be a good time to review family escape plans in case of a fire, including establishing a meet-up point outside the home, so all members of the family can be accounted for.

Obviously, no plan can take into account all eventualities, but a basic plan is a good start.

There is no way to predict when a disaster will strike, so having a family emergency plan in place will help people better cope with the short-term impact. Then, when the “earthquake” hits next month or a real one after that, folks will be better able to absorb the shock.

On the Web

Online advice about developing a family emergency preparedness plan is available at

At issue

No one can predict when disaster will strike.

Our point

September is National Preparedness Month, a good time to develop or update a family emergency plan.