- Special Sections
- Public Notices
If you happened to be inside a Bedford County building last Thursday around 9:15 a.m. you probably saw employees crawling under their desks.
In fact, the goal, had you been there, was to have you take cover as well.
The county employees were participating in The Great SouthEast Shake Out, an Earthquake Preparedness Drill.
It’s something folks in this area might not have thought about preparing for prior to the August 2011 earthquake, centered in Virginia, that sent shock waves up and down the East Coast. The drill is part of a larger program that will include schools on Oct. 18.
Bedford County Department of Fire & Rescue facilitated the county’s participation in the VDEM Region 6 Drill involving Rockbridge, Bedford, Bath, Alleghany and Botetourt counties.
For the drill, the state EOC provided simulated communications to the region indicating that an earthquake has greatly impacted the region’s communication system causing difficultly in each jurisdiction’s 911 center. This simulation was to test the centers’ ability to effectively communicate when towers and primary landlines are down.
The drill didn’t affect “real world operations” that may have occurred but it did alter, albeit briefly, county employees schedules as they participated in the drill by dropping to the floor, taking cover and holding on while the earthquake audio was played over the public address system.
County Fire Chief Jack Jones said the drill can also serve as a reminder to area residents to check with their insurance agents about their coverage from damage caused by an earthquake.
Jones said on Oct. 18, a number of county fire and rescue employees will be at area schools to help with that drill. He said while preparations are often stressed around here for wind and ice storms and wildfires, earthquake preparedness isn’t something people thought about much prior to last year’s event.
“There are more faults than people realize,” Jones said of the possibility of having earthquakes in this area.
The basic rule of thumb of what to do during an earthquake: “Get under your desk,” Jones said.
He added, however, that it’s a good opportunity to also take a look up and see what items might be on bookshelves or other pieces of furniture that could fall and cause harm.
Jones also encouraged area businesses to participate in a drill on Oct. 18, at 10:18 a.m.