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Citizens feel the quake

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Area residents were shaken up late Saturday evening as many felt, for the first time, the tremors from an earthquake that struck near Oklahoma City, Okla.

According to David Compton, director of the Barry County Office of Emergency Management, it was "a pretty good shake."

"There were no official estimates of how strong the tremors were in this area," Compton said. "But I would estimate they were between 2.5 to 2.7 in intensity. There were no reports of injuries or damage."

The Barry County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) opened on a limited status for a few hours after the shocks were felt locally.

"We had a lot of phone calls and several reports about the shaking," Compton said, "but we suffered no building damage or power outages as a result of that earthquake."

Compton said this earthquake was likely centered around the Fort Scott, Ark., fault line.

The earthquake was the strongest ever recorded in the Oklahoma region. The quake is also significant in light of it being the strongest in the Plains area in over 100 years.

"The best thing that people can do in the event of an earthquake is seek shelter under a heavy piece of furniture or in a doorway," Compton said. "The last thing a person should do is try to get out of a building. Once they leave the shelter of their home or place of business, they become vulnerable to being injured by falling debris."

Barry County has an earthquake plan in place, due to proximity to the New Madrid Seismic Zone and the Fort Scott Seismic Zone.

"We have always considered earthquakes to be a threat; however, in all of those scenarios, it was a matter of us sending resources to the impacted areas," Compton said. "We have never really looked to see what damage may be done to our own homes and businesses in the event of a major earthquake."

No requests for resources have been made by Oklahoma state officials in the wake of Saturday night's earthquake.

"They had some building damage and one injury, but it's nothing on a large scale," Compton said.

"This event serves as a timely reminder that people should have their 72-hour kits prepared and ready to go at a moment's notice," Compton said. "A 72-hour kit is basically an all-hazards kit. It is ready to go whether the disaster is flooding, an earthquake or a tornado. It carries all of the essentials an individual might need for the first 72 hours following a disaster."

Information on disaster preparedness can be found on the State Emergency Management Agency's website http://sema.dps.mo.gov/plan_and_prepare/.



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