Charleston Co. emergency operations runs through major earthquake drill

VIDEO: Charleston Co. emergency operations runs through major earthquake drill

CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Charleston County Emergency Operations is working to make sure you are safe if we get hit by a strong earthquake.

Over the past few months there have been some small magnitude earthquakes in our area.

As we know, the Lowcountry is no stranger to earthquakes.

In 1886 Charleston was hit with an estimated 7.3 magnitude quake causing severe damage and 60 deaths across the area.

Tuesday emergency management officials went through a drill on how they would respond to a large scale earthquake, specifically a 6.0 magnitude quake, these days.

"[We're focusing on] life safety, responders safety, trying to take care of our citizens and get them as much help [as possible]," said Chief of Operations Cathy Haynes.

The problem is, with a natural disaster of this kind, first responders are usually stuck themselves.

Which means if something like this were to happen, you could be on your own for a few days.

However, communication is key.

That's why agencies from law enforcement, health, medical, fire and more took part in the drill.

Officials went through more than 300 scenarios of what county residents could deal with.

"We're needing help," said one staff member as he acted out a scenario with fire officials. "We can hear yelling for help, but we don't have the equipment we need to remove the roof."

Getting those resources across the area was one factor staff worked on.

With this hypothetical earthquake, it's extremely likely the bridges across the county would be affected.

Haynes said no one would be allowed to cross those bridges until they are inspected by engineers.

"Everything is going to have to be prioritized," Haynes said. "What is the most important thing we can get out first, second, third. Some areas... we may just, unfortunately, have to burn."

Haynes added the epicenter of this earthquake for the drill was in Summerville.

The damage would impacted areas of downtown Charleston, and to the south and north of the city.

"You'd see infrastructure damage, water-pipe damages, fires," Haynes said.

The overall message to the public though: "Think before it happens". Make sure you have a plan, and prepare for the worst.

Some recommendations emergency management suggested including re-enforcing your ceiling fans to make sure they're stable, along with bolting your bookshelves to the walls.

Haynes said anything to prevent you from becoming injured inside your home, is a step in the right direction.

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