Missouri ANG, partners assess structures during earthquake exercise
By Tech. Sgt. Stephanie Mundwiller, 131st Bomb Wing Public Affairs
/ Published October 05, 2021
JEFFERSON BARRACKS AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mo. -- To survive a natural disaster and then later be injured or killed in a building collapse is an avoidable situation. The Air National Guard, along with state and local partners participated in a regional earthquake exercise Oct. 2, 2021, here, to prevent that from happening.
The event prepared first responders for the possibility of a catastrophic earthquake occurring in the New Madrid Seismic Zone which is centered in southeast Missouri.
Participants assessed buildings on-site with simulated earthquake damage using digital technology to generate live reports. Small unmanned aerial system drones were also used to capture aerial views of the buildings used in the exercise.
“Mission readiness is a big part of what we do,” said Jeff Briggs, earthquake program manager for the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency. “Our people have to train and recertify every three years and working with the National Guard helps mission readiness because of the training and equipment they bring to the table.”
SEMA helps coordinate activities of the Missouri Structural Assessment and Visual Evaluation (SAVE) Coalition, which is a group made of more than 1,000 people statewide including engineers, architects and building inspectors.
“The National Guard is an important partner for the SAVE Coalition.” said Briggs. “Any time we can build on and improve the partnership that our agencies have, that’s really significant. The partnerships that we’re making here today help us work together better. This will pay dividends in the long run when we have a real emergency.”
About 100 participants from the SAVE Coalition, the Missouri Department of Public Safety and Emergency Management, Indiana Building Emergency Assessment and Monitoring, the United States Air Force Auxiliary Civil Air Patrol, the 231st Civil Engineer Flight, the 635th Forward Engineer Support Team-Main, and the Central U.S. Earthquake Consortium were involved in the exercise.
Many buildings in eastern and southern Missouri would likely sustain damage if a disastrous earthquake were to occur in the New Madrid Seismic Zone. From 1811 to 1812, the zone has produced some of the largest earthquakes in U.S. and is the most active seismic zone east of the Rocky Mountains. Scientists predict there’s a 25 to 40 percent chance of a major earthquake occurring in this zone within a 50-year timeframe.