Officials who have tested the state’s preparedness for a major southeast Missouri earthquake find room for improvement but feel generally good about the state’s ability to respond. 

The three-day drill involved a lot of role-playing that pointed the way to re-establishing communications in heavily-damaged areas and identified severe transportation problems that would result because of disrupted roads and damaged or downed bridges.   The exercise showed the health department has lined up medical supplies. The highway patrol has arrangements with other states to bring in troopers to maintain order. The National Guard has a helicopter mobilization plan to deliver needed supplies.

State public safety director Mark James rates preparedness on a scale of ten and says the human preparation for the quake probably rates a nine.  But even if the state had a perfect ten, it will have to deal with a "devastating event" with thousands of casualties. 

James says the test also showed many local agencies have well thought-out response plans. 

He says the state will probably do another of these exercises next year.

Download Bob Priddy’s story (:62 mp3)