Schools and businesses across the Midsouth were all taking cover Thursday to prepare for the widespread devastation of an earthquake.
The New Madrid Fault Line in southeast Missouri remains a threat more than 200 years after a series of large earthquakes caused the Mississippi River to flow backward and created Reelfoot Lake in West Tennessee.
At 10:15 a.m. sharp, nearly 2 million people across eight states surrounding the fault line prepared for another quake by taking cover under their desks in the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut.
"Earthquakes present the single-most catastrophic threat to the state of Tennessee," said Dean Flener, spokesman for the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency.
Nashville and Middle Tennessee are about 200 miles from the fault line, but the area is not in the clear should another earthquake strike.
"You are still going to feel some shaking. You're still going to have things fall. You're still going to have glass that can fall off the building and brick and mortar that can fall off of buildings," Flener said.
That is why students at Columbia Academy and nearly 80 other schools across Middle Tennessee are learning safety tips for when an earthquake occurs. Most importantly, experts say you should never go outside. No matter where you are in the building, drop and take cover.
More than 200 earthquakes are reported in Tennessee every six months.
"We have a monitor up here that shows us every time something shakes, rattles or rolls in the state of Tennessee or adjacent counties," said Natasha Bahr at the TEMA Operations Center.
TEMA officials have a detailed response plan for every situation from fuel and water shortages to limited transportation routes and rescues.
"There's no forecast for it. What we've got is the 15-minute confirmation, so if something happens and it is over a 3.0, in 15 minutes and we'll know it," Bahr said.
A good way to stay informed in the case of a natural disaster is to download the Ready TN app on your smartphone or tablet. There, you can find tips, emergency numbers and other information to prepare for an earthquake.
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