12:16pm

Tue June 17, 2014
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Tennessee Holding Earthquake Response Exercise

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP/WMOT) — Tennessee National Guard members and emergency response officials are holding an exercise this week to simulate the response to a large earthquake along the New Madrid (MAD'-rihd) fault.

The New Madrid zone stretches 150 miles, crossing parts of Tennessee and six other states. In 1811 and 1812, it unleashed a trio of powerful jolts that rattled the central Mississippi River valley.

Jeremy Heidt with Tennessee Emergency Management says the state takes the threat the New Madrid fault poses very seriously.

“A catastrophic earthquake in the New Madrid zone would effect not just Tennessee, but all of the mid-states. There’s more than eight states with more than 12 million people involved that would need some sort of assistance or have some impact to their lives.”

Heidt says Tennessee is part of a multi-state disaster compact that would allow TEMA to draw on the emergency resources of neighboring states in the event of a disaster.

More than 1,000 Tennessee National Guardsmen and other responders will participate in the exercise that runs through Thursday.