Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs Office
Kentucky National Guard, Emergency Management prepared to respond to earthquake

Press Release Date:  Friday, April 18, 2008  
Contact Information:  1LT Andi Hahn
Asst. Deputy Public Affairs Officer, Kentucky National Guard
502-607-1898
 


Frankfort, Ky. -- Early this morning the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management (KYEM) activated the State Emergency Operations Center in Frankfort in response to the earthquake that woke Kentuckians throughout the state.

There have been no injuries reported and only minor damages reported. A building in downtown Louisville suffered minor damage to a brick facade and residential chimney, a residence in Logan County reported minor cracking in drywall and Warren County officials reported a mobile home shifted on its blocks.

Thanks to a recent training exercise, Kentucky National Guard troops across the state are prepared to respond in the case of severe seismic damage.

"The timing of this morning's earthquake is remarkable," said Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini, Kentucky's Adjutant General.  "Last month the Kentucky National Guard conducted a highly successful 5-day seismic exercise involving more than 300 troops from across the state.  We tested all facets of a true seismic disaster, including the rapid airlift of emergency supplies, equipment and personnel to communities in Western Kentucky.  We also tested our ability to communicate and cooperate with local authorities in responding to such an emergency."

"The Kentucky Guard has never been better poised to respond to an earthquake," said Governor Steve Beshear.  "I've seen for myself the extent of their training and have the fullest confidence in their ability to do their job.  Our Citizen-Soldiers have a long history of helping their fellow Kentuckians and they stand ready to do so again."

Kentucky’s Earthquake Program Manager, Lori King, said “We are extremely fortunate that nobody was injured and only minor damages have been reported.” She added, “This should be a wake up call to remind us that earthquakes can and do occur at any time and are unpredictable. As with any disaster we should be aware, be prepared, have a plan and have an emergency kit.”

Several local and state catastrophic planning workshops have been held in recent months.  Maintaining public awareness of the earthquake risk, as well as maintaining readiness among agencies is a priority for the Kentucky Earthquake program.

The Kentucky National Guard conducted its seismic exercise during the first week of March.  Based on a simulated 7.5 Richter-scale magnitude earthquake along the New Madrid fault, the simulation tested both Army and Air National Guard response capabilities.  Overall direction was provided by the Kentucky National Guard Joint Forces Headquarters in Frankfort, deploying military police, medical, logistical, communications and special operations teams to 24 counties across the state.  Kentucky Army National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters from Frankfort and Air National Guard C-130 Hercules air transports from Louisville provided airlift support. 

In the wake of this morning's seismic event, Kentucky National Guard personnel are currently inspecting their facilities for damage, to include gas, power and phone lines at armories to ensure readiness as operations centers and shelters.  Also, a 100% communications check has been conducted.

There are currently 8,446 Soldiers and Airmen in the Kentucky National Guard, with more than 1,000 are currently either mobilized or deployed in support of the Global War on Terror.   That leaves more than 7,400 troops available to respond to an emergency.  The largest callup of troops for a natural disaster took place during the flood of 1997, when 1,600 Guard members were activated.

For more information and a video on the Kentucky National Guard's seismic preparedness, visit:  http://www.kentuckyguard.com/

For addition information and resources on earthquakes, please visit the following website:
www.kyem.ky.gov/programs/earthquake/ . There on the right side of the web page you will find links to other government sites pertaining to earthquakes and other valuable earthquake information. For personal safety tips and other resources, please visit: http://www.kyem.ky.gov/programs/earthquake/Resources.htm.

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