As the East Coast braced for Hurricane Irene last August, residents were also shocked by a 5.8 magnitude earthquake that caused trembles reportedly stretching from Anderson, S.C. to Portland, Maine. Despite having covered earthquake preparedness before for the Red Cross, my hurriquake 2011 experience—as it became affectionately known online—taught me that my personal preparedness efforts were lacking. But, as it is for so many of us, I decided to put off for tomorrow what should be done today. That is, however, until this morning when I came across an encouraging story of practice and preparedness from South Bend, Ind.
As reported by WSBT-TV, area classrooms and businesses participated in the “Great Central U.S. Shakeout” drill practicing the recommended duck, cover and hold on safety method when a faux quake struck Tuesday. Residents in the region need to be ready since a moderate earthquake has been predicted to occur along the New Madrid fault line within the next 50 years.
In the report, fourth grader Kayley Bouterse provided remarkable perspective about the importance of emergency preparedness. “If we didn’t have any experience, everybody would just be running around and nobody would know what to do. So it would be really unsafe,” she noted. “You have to have, at least, a plan in case something really happens,” she added in the interview that aired on local news.
Thank you, Kayley, for inspiring me to revisit my emergency preparedness plan today. Stay happy, healthy and safe!