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Earthquake Links 



   The City of Salem Department of Emergency Management would like to remind citizens of Salem and surrounding areas of the possibility of earthquakes in this region.  The City of Salem and Marion County are located in the moderate risk area of the New Madrid Seismic Zone.  Other Fault Systems are located near our region, such as the Wabash Valley and Rend Lake Fault System.  The New Madrid Fault System is the greatest earthquake risk east of the Rocky Mountains.  This zone averages about 200 earthquakes a year, though most of them are too small to be felt.  With modern seismic networks, the capability to detect earthquakes has greatly increased, and many more very small earthquakes are being detected now than in the past.  The history of the region tells us, however, that the earthquake risk is the most serious potential disaster we could face. Scientist have also learned that the New Madrid fault system may not be the only fault system in the Central U.S. capable of producing damaging earthquakes.  The Wabash Valley fault system in Illinois and Indiana shows evidence of large earthquakes in its geologic history, and there may be other, as yet unidentified, faults that could produce strong earthquakes.  The City of Salem Department of Emergency Management would like to help prepare yourself in the event of an earthquake.  Remember, you may not be able to depend on Emergency Services after a disaster for some time, that is why it is important to be able to survive at least 72 hours on your own.  It is best to have a two week supply for longer term survival. Visit our home page for preparing a disaster supply kit.  There are many things you can do.  Generally, an earthquake is divided into three stages: before, during and after.  Know what to do in each stage.



  • Develop a family earthquake plan.  Prepare yourself and your home by completing the activities on this checklist.


  • Decide how and where your family will reunite if separated.


  • Choose an out-of-area friend or relative whom separated family members can call after the quake to report their whereabouts and condition.


  • Know the safe spots in each room; under sturdy tables, desks, or against inside walls.


  • Know the danger spots: windows, mirrors, hanging objects, fireplaces and tall, unsecured furniture.


  • Conduct practice drills. Physically place yourself in safe locations.  Learn first aid and CPR.


  • Keep a list of emergency phone numbers.


  • Learn how to shut off gas, water and electricity in case the lines are damaged.


  • Secure water heaters and appliances that could move enough to rupture lines.


  • Secure heavy furniture, hanging plants, heavy pictures or mirrors.


  • Keep flammable or hazardous liquids in cabinets or on lower shelves.


  • Maintain emergency food, water and other supplies, including a flashlight, a portable battery operated radio, extra batteries, medicines, first aid kit and clothing.



  • If in doors, stay there and take cover under a table, desk, or other sturdy furniture.


  • Face away from windows and glass doors


  • A doorway without a door is an acceptable location in which to stand.


  • Lie, kneel or sit near a structurally sound interior wall or corner away from windows, brick fireplaces, glass walls, etc.


  • Protect your head and your body from falling objects.


  • Remain where you are until the shaking stops.  Think out your plan of action first, then move.


  • Know exit routes if in a commercial building.  Take cover and don't move until the shaking stops.


  • Do not stop your vehicle under overpasses or bridges.


  • Stay below window level in your vehicle.


  • Turn off the engine and turn on the radio.  follow emergency instructions.


  • Stay in the vehicle if downed power lines have fallen across it.  Do not touch metal.


  • Wait for help.  You might be able to back away from lines.


  • If you have to leave your vehicle, move to an open area quickly.



  • Check for injuries.  Render first aid.  Do not move seriously injured victims unless they are in immediate danger.  Hunt for hazards.


  • Check for other hazards and control them.


  • Check utilities.  If there is damage, turn the utility off at the source.


  • Check building for cracks and damage, including roof, chimneys and foundation.


  • Check food and water supplies.


  • Emergency water can be obtained form water heaters, melted ice cubes, canned vegetables and toilet tanks.


  • Never use matches, lighters or candles inside.


  • Turn on the radio and listen for emergency broadcasts/announcements, news reports and instructions.  Cooperate with public safety officials.


  • Do not use your vehicle unless there is an emergency.  Keep the streets clear for Emergency vehicles.


  • If buildings are suspect, set up your shelter area away from damage.


  • Work with your neighbors for a quicker recovery.  Stay calm and lend a hand to others. 


  • Be prepared for after shocks.


  • Plan for evacuations in case events make this necessary.  Leave written messages for other family members or searchers.


  • Use gloves, wear heavy shoes and have adequate clothing available.


   Make special provisions for the elderly, disabled, persons who do not speak English and for pets.



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