What if it happened here?

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 Plan.

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 interested citizens.

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 don’t 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 disasters.
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 at 812-689-5505.




© Copyright 2003 Ripley Publishing Co.. Inc. | Site Design by Eclectic Video