Mississippi School students are joining children in a safety drill spanning 23 states this morning. MPB's Desare Frazier reports.
At 10:19 a.m., students in Mississippi school districts will drop, cover their heads and crawl to shelter under a table or desk. The "Earthquake Shakeout Drill" teaches them how to protect themselves in case of an earthquake. Mississippi Emergency Management Agency Director Lee Smithson says people think of hurricanes hitting the state. But there's an earthquake zone called the New Madrid Fault Line that could impact Mississippi, especially the northwest part of the state.
"We know that Tunica County will be devastated. DeSoto County will have a lot of damage. We'll have damage just because of the way the soil is composed that will liquefy. Even a one story home that isn't subject to collapsing will still sink into the ground," said Smithson.
Smithson says the last earthquake along the New Madrid was in 1812 and registered a magnitude 8.0. The New Madrid begins in Missouri and zigzags into the southeast. Experts are not ruling out another one. Coretta Green, the principal at J.Z. George High School in Carroll County, felt a mild earthquake in San Diego before. She's prepared students for the drill with demonstrations.
"Everything kinda shakes and there are some things that fall down off of tall shelves in the room, so that they won't be too afraid or too alarmed and they'll know how to recover from it," said Green.
Safety Coordinator Kim Springer with Calhoun County School District says they do the exercise annually.
"The school district can never be too prepared for any type of incidences and you can never say it will never happen," said Springer.
MEMA's Lee Smithson says businesses, state agencies and other organizations are encouraged to participate. He says earthquakes occur without warning.