FEMA Debuts Earthquake Disaster Response Initiative

The eight states located in the New Madrid Seismic Zone (NMSZ), which is within the Central United States, are now in the sights of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), who are developing the Earthquake Disaster Response Initiative as to develop response plans in the event of a catastrophic earthquake event.

States within the NMSZ include:

  • Tennessee
  • Missouri
  • Mississippi
  • Kentucky
  • Indiana
  • Illinois
  • Arkansas
  • Alabama

The Earthquake Disaster Response Initiative, which involves the collaboration of countless government agencies, voluntary organizations, businesses, and scientific academic institutions, is designed to identify areas of high risk, assess response capabilities currently in place, and identify planning approaches for the eight states within the NMSZ. The emphasis of the Initiative will be focused on the capabilities of local and state governments that are assisted through federal capabilities.

It is expected that a catastrophic earthquake in the NMSZ would impact a major stretch of land, much larger than similar earthquakes in the country. In fact, the largest earthquake every recorded was in the NMSZ in the winter of 1811-1812, says FEMA.

FEMA Catastrophic Disaster Planning Initiative

The Initiative is part of FEMA’s comprehensive Catastrophic Disaster Planning Initiative, which involves conducting analyses and developing plans for catastrophic disasters, such as hurricanes and earthquakes.

The first phase in the Earthquake Disaster Response Initiative involves scenario-driven workshops throughout the states in the NMSZ. All participants involved will be in the operational and planning areas of all levels of government and throughout the private and academic sectors. Those involved include emergency management staff, state and local law enforcement officials, emergency services coordinators, fire and emergency medical personnel, and county emergency managers.

Also involved in the Initiative are FEMA Headquarters, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the American Red Cross, the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Northern Command, and more than 200 local governments.