The possibility of a catastrophic earthquake
hitting Ripley County is not something most folks think about.
Natural disasters like tornadoes, snowstorms and droughts are
more what people are used to here.
The truth is that the Ripley County area is very vulnerable
to serious consequences from potential major earthquakes. Effects
from changes in the New Madrid Fault in Tennessee and Missouri
could have a disastrous impact locally. The Wabash Valley Fault
System is even closer and could possibly produce dangerous earthquakes
at any time.
When one starts thinking about it, there are a large number
of cataclysmic events - both weather related and man-made -
that could happen at any time in Ripley County. That is one
of the reasons a group of local, regional and state officials
have organized a hazard mitigation planning committee and are
working together to develop a Pre-Disaster All Hazard Mitigation
The committee is seeking public input to include in the all
hazard mitigation plan. On Tuesday, January 30, the committee
will host a meeting at the Batesville Fire House, 115 East Catherine
Street, Batesville, from 7-9 p.m. The meeting is open to all
John Hill from the Indiana Geological Survey will speak at the
meeting. Hill is an expert on Indiana earthquakes. People who
attend the meeting and hear Hill speak will leave being aware
of earthquake risks that most people dont even know exist.
All types of potential disasters will be discussed at the meeting.
The Ripley County Hazard Mitigation Committee has identified
different types of disaster that could happen in Ripley County
- ranging from flooding to hazardous spills.
The committee has been working with the Polis Center of Indiana
University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) on collecting
technical information so that selected disaster scenarios could
be modeled on a computer. The Polis Center will utilize HAZUS,
a powerful program that can calculate risk, loss of life, physical
structure damage and other effects that could occur from specific
Representatives from POLIS will be at the meeting to present
models of selected disasters. For example, one scenario chosen
by the committee for Polis to model was the impact of a flash
flood in the Friendship area in Ripley County. The results of
the modeling exercise will reveal in detail the physical and
economic impact such an event could have on the county.
The next step the committee will take towards completion of
the Hazard Mitigation Plan will be to organize a planning session
to formulate specific strategies to deal with future disasters
that have been identified. Results will be incorporated into
the final plan.
Completion of the All Hazard Mitigation Plan is very critical
to Ripley County. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
is requiring each unit of government in the United States to
have a FEMA approved All Hazard Mitigation Plan. These plans
will serve as the framework for developing hazard mitigation
projects that will help reduce the negative impact of future
disasters on the community. Examples of projects that have been
completed by some communities include storm shelters, warning
sirens, flood walls, and fire protection enhancements.
Anyone who would like to provide input to the plan, but is unable
to attend the meeting should contact Wayne Peace, Ripley County
Emergency Management Agency Director at 812-689-5751, or Dana
L. Riddle at the Southeastern Indiana Regional Planning Commission