Jonesboro to Participate in RAIN Exercise Next Week

JONESBORO, AR - Jonesboro is one of sixteen local government agencies in the Mid-South that will participate Tuesday (June 19) in a first-ever regional disaster earthquake response that includes a damage assessment of the conditions after an earthquake.  The mock disaster drill will involve nearly 100 people in Mississippi, Arkansas, and Tennessee working with a scenario based on a 7.7 earthquake in the New Madrid Fault Zone.

According to a news release from Jonesboro City Hall, "when a large-scale disaster such as an earthquake, biological or terrorist incident occurs in the area, it could be 48-to-72 hours before significant, coordinated assistance from state and federal agencies is available.  During that time, the city needs to provide its own search and rescue activities, as well as access, collect and share critical information with outside emergency responders as soon as possible."  The exercise is expected to allow the city to test hardware and software that can decrease the time to collect, distribute and utilize this information from days to hours.

Outside assistance is likely to include other participating municipalities and counties, which is part of a growing regional Rescue/Responder Assistance Information Network (RAIN).  RAIN is currently a loose-knit group of city and county agencies that are setting up shared data and common software, so they can provide mutual aid in the event of a widespread disaster.