State EMD spokesman Derrec Becker says this has been planned for months, and the threat of earthquakes to the state is not new:
We try to be as proactive as possible, because the big one in this side of the country has struck us. It has struck us just a few miles away in Charleston, SC. And so, we’re very cognizant of the fact–even though it was almost 125 years ago–we’re very cognizant of the fact that an earthquake could strike tomorrow and be just as bad.
The Charleston earthquake in 1886 was a 7.3 on the Richter scale. While an earthquake is a possibility, the level of the earthquake threat is unknown, says Becker.
Earthquakes cannot be predicted. We don’t know the severity of an earthquake, unfortunately, until after it is over. The last one in 1886, the largest one, was estimated to be a 7.3 earthquake, but we’re just not sure of the type or the magnitude scale of an actual quake until after it’s happened.
State Emergency Management participates in “The Great ShakeOut” drill to build relationships with other states who have an earthquake threat.
It was started by what was called the Central United States Earthquake Consortium, made up of the central states that you see–basically the ones along the New Madrid Fault Line. South Carolina is a supporting state for CUSEC, and as such we are taking part in this earthquake drill as a means of support. South Carolina has agreed to send support and resources to that area. The flip side of that is, should we get an earthquake the same thing would happen.
According to Becker, the drill will run like every other EMD statewide drill. A signal will be broadcast at 10:15 am on April 28 at which time everyone should drop to the ground, cover his or her head, and hold on until the ground stops shaking. Simply put, it will be an earthquake simulation. Becker says state EMD’s are learning from what they are seeing in Japan and may incorporate some of the scenarios into their drill in April.
SC EMD also has a regularly scheduled exercise for nuclear plant safety and readiness in April, preparing for a national drill in May.