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February is Earthquake Awareness Month

SPRINGFIELD – The worst earthquake in Illinois history occurred on December 17, 1811, and was so strong that it rang a church bell in a Cairo church in southern Illinois. It also blew smoke, sand, and coal 30 yards into the air and made the Mississippi River flow backward for a moment.

     “Not everyone in Illinois realizes that Illinois is susceptible to earthquakes because of the New Madrid Seismic Zone on the border with Missouri and the Wabash Valley Seismic Zone on our border with Indiana,” said Alicia Tate Nadeau, director of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and Office of Homeland Security (IEMA-OHS). “Each of us need to be prepared for a quake whether it barely affects you and your home or whether it causes major, widespread damage.”

     Drop, Cover, and Hold On! is the best way to stay safe with earthquakes. The phrase reminds people to:

  • Drop down to the floor
  • Take cover under a sturdy desk, table, or other furniture
  • Hold on to that object until the shaking ends.

     Details on how persons with disabilities reduce injury and death during an earthquake are listed at

     According to the Central United States Earthquake Consortium (CUSEC), we experience nearly 2,000 small tremors each year. CUSEC has several webinars and meetings available to the public during February. That list can be found at

     Homeowners should also explore adding earthquake insurance with their insurance agent.

     On October 17, 2023, more than 120,000 people in the U.S. participated in the Great ShakeOut drill, and that included 47,000 in the central U.S. You can register for the October 17, 2024 ShakeOut drill at

     More information on earthquake preparedness can be found at


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