Region 8 Earthquake Forum

February 16, 2006 -- Posted at 11:00 P.M. CST

JONESBORO -- The problems that occurred from Hurricane Katrina have caused local officials to take a local look into what our area needs in the case of a natural disaster.

"Having seen what happened with Katrina last year and how much devastation that caused, we have a similar situation here in having widespread type of damage. This town meeting is to really help the public better understand their chances of seeing an earthquake occur and what could happen if it did occur," says Jim Wilkinson, Executive Director of the Central United States Earthquake Consortium.

Officials say that education is the key to understanding what to do.

"It's important that each individual knows this can happen and knows how to take care of themselves because when a large earthquake happens there will not be enough response people to take care of it. An earthquake is not going to telegraph itself like that hurricane did. It's gonna happen and you're gonna know it," says Jack Richardson, Craighead County Office of Emergency Management Coordinator.

The region on the New Madrid fault line is susceptible to damaging earthquakes. Depending on its magnitude and location, it could cause major physical, social, or economic damages.

"The potential is there. It's just a matter of time, not when but a matter of time. And I think it's very important, it's a long time overdue," says Aaron Keller, Jonesboro Fire Chief.

Keller says they intend to add the information to their training, as well as carry it out into the community. T

here is not simple answer as to what a catastrophic earthquake could create in this area, but being forewarned is forearmed and that is exactly what Jonesboro residents are trying to do.