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Earthquake Drill

Earthquake here in Illinois? 
Well believe it or not it could play in Peoria

On April 18, 2008, thousands of people throughout the state were awakened by shaking from a 5.4 earthquake centered in southeastern Illinois. During February 2016 the Peoria City/County Health Department is reminding citizens to consider earthquake when developing family and business emergency plans.

What is an earthquake?

An earthquake can be caused by a crack or rupture in Earth’s tectonic plates, or when tectonic plates push against each other. Earthquakes in the New Madrid Seismic Zone and the Wabash Valley Seismic Zone are caused by cracks or ruptures.  There is nothing we can do to predict or prevent an earthquake from occurring; however, there are many things we can do to prepare for an earthquake that can keep us safe if one occurs.

Earthquake Hazards

There are two primary "hot spots" for earthquakes in the central United States that will impact Illinois, specifically in the south and southeastern parts of the state.

  • New Madrid Seismic Zone lies within the central Mississippi Valley, from Cairo, Illinois, through southeastern Missouri, western Kentucky, western Tennessee and northeast Arkansas. The epicenter of the zone is located just west and northwest of Memphis, Tennessee.

    Historically, this area has been the site of some of the largest earthquakes in North America. Between 1811 and 1812, four catastrophic earthquakes with magnitude estimates greater than 7.0 occurred during a three-month period. Hundreds, if not thousands, of aftershocks followed over a period of several years.
  • Wabash Valley Seismic Zone, in southeastern Illinois and southwestern Indiana, is capable of producing ‘New Madrid’ size earthquake events. The epicenter of the zone is located between Mt. Vernon, Illinois, and West Franklin, Indiana (in Posey County).

    Since the discovery of this seismic zone, earthquake awareness and preparedness have increased. Geologists in Indiana and Illinois have found liquefaction sites and sand dikes that show evidence of prehistoric earthquakes in the region.

What could happen?

The most common effect people feel is shaking. In addition, earthquakes may cause buildings to collapse, gas lines to rupture, roadways to crack and heave, or power lines to fall. After the initial earthquake, several aftershocks may be felt. These aftershocks may be as strong as the initial earthquake.

How do I prepare?

There are several simple and inexpensive steps you can take to prepare for an earthquake, including:

> Plan to hold earthquake drills for your family and business
> Develop a family reunification plan
> Make your home and business earthquake safe with such actions as:
     • Strapping water heaters and large appliances to wall studs
     • Anchoring overhead light fixtures
     • Fastening shelves to wall studs and securing cabinet doors with latches
> Learn how to shut off gas, water and electricity in case the lines are damaged
> Assemble a disaster kit with supplies that will last at least 72 hours
> Have a battery-operated radio (and extra batteries) available for public information broadcasts

What to do during an earthquake

Whether you are in your home, a school classroom, a high-rise or other type of building, it is important to know how to protect yourself during an earthquake. Practice what to do during an earthquake with your family members so you can react automatically when the shaking starts.

If you are indoors, follow these steps:

Drop -- Drop down to the floor.

Cover -- Take cover under a sturdy desk, table or other furniture. If that is not possible, seek cover against an interior wall and protect your head and neck with your arms. Avoid danger spots near windows, hanging objects, mirrors or tall furniture.

Hold -- If you take cover under a sturdy piece of furniture, hold on to it and be prepared to move with it. HOLD the position until the ground stops shaking and it is safe to move.

If you are outside when the shaking starts, get into an open area away from trees, buildings, walls and power lines. If driving, stop safely as soon as possible. Do not stop under overpasses or bridges. Turn off the engine and turn on the radio. Stay inside your vehicle below window level until the shaking stops. Do not get out of your vehicle if downed power lines have fallen across it.

What should I do after an earthquake?

  • Check for injuries and render first aid
  • Avoid other hazards (fire, chemical spills, etc.)
  • Check utilities (gas, water, electricity). If safe, shut utilities off at the source.
  • Turn on a battery-powered radio and listen for public information broadcasts from emergency officials. STAY TUNED FOR UPDATES.
  • Check food and water supplies.
  • Do not use matches, candles or lighters inside.
  • Do not use vehicles unless there is a life-threatening emergency.

After a major earthquake, you should remember that emergency services like fire, police, and medical personnel may be unavailable for extended periods of time. First responders may be injured themselves and/or their equipment may be damaged. Emergency professionals recommend that you plan to be self-sufficient for at least 3 days. 

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