JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - "We have to prepare and have a plan," said E 9-1-1 director, Jeff Presley.
Preparing for that next big earthquake is something Presley says we all must do.
"If we prepare now, we can survive this. We can have fresh water, we can have utilities, we can have rescue squads, but we have to prepare now, and have a plan," said Presley. Developing plans for earthquakes was the focus of a preparedness conference Presley recently attended.
"We're going to start with communication plans. If we have this disaster, it's going to be key for rescue to have communications," said Presley.
Presley says now is the time to prepare--city wide, and he says getting that message out is the next step.
"Educate our schools, our churches our families, of what they need to do, what would be the next step to prepare for an earthquake," said training officer, Mellenee Bennett.
"What's going to happen when one hits, and what effects it's going to have on families," said Bennett.
They are scenarios training officers urge people to prepare for--potentially life saving measures.
"When it does occur, you think why didn't I have that stuff already prepared," said Bennett.
Presley says a 7.7 magnitude earthquake in the New Madrid region today would cause widespread damage, thousands of deaths, and billions in economic loss. He says you can't predict when the quake will happen, but you can be prepared.
"I believe it begins with education," said Presley.
Presley says the eight states in the New Madrid area including Arkansas, Missouri, and Tennessee participated in the conference. Presley says over the next year, the city will have drills to test response plans. They'll also hold public seminars on preparedness, and go to schools to incorporate earthquake preparedness in their 9-1-1 training. He adds they'll also use face book and the city's web site to help promote events.