Lowcountry government agencies test response to earthquake

Officials in North Charleston prepare for the drill (Source: North Charleston city government)
Officials in North Charleston prepare for the drill (Source: North Charleston city government)

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - What if a 5.5 magnitude earthquake hit the Lowcountry? Four different government agencies went through that scenario Wednesday to test officials' response to an emergency.

Charleston County, Dorchester County, City of North Charleston and town of Mount Pleasant officials were all be put through the paces of a massive emergency response to a sudden natural disaster.

Each agency conducted their own drill or exercise, but the public wasn't be involved in any way. Part of the drill included the collapse and lack of access to vital infrastructure. It helped officials to analyze how many essential police, fire, and public works employees are able to get to work without crossing a bridge or underpass.

The most notable earthquake on record to hit Charleston came in 1886 when a 7.3 magnitude earthquake rattled the area. According to the South Carolina Emergency Division earthquake preparedness guide, a similar earthquake today would result in roughly 900 deaths. Approximately 70 percent of all the state's earthquakes happen in the coastal plain, SCEMD says.

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