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Grissom drops, covers, holds on during ShakeOut exercise

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Mark R. W. Orders-Woempner
  • 434th ARW Public Affairs
Shaking things up, Grissom personnel dropped, covered and held on during a recent earthquake exercise here.

The base participated in the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut, an annual earthquake drill held in nine central U.S. states, Feb. 7, where participants were encouraged to drop down, get under cover and hold on when notified they were in a simulated earthquake scenario.

According to the event's website, 2.9 million people registered for the exercise and over 12.5 million people participated in ShakeOut events around the world last year.

While Grissom is surrounded by several minor seismic zones, perhaps the biggest threat comes from the New Madrid Seismic Zone, a 150-mile long fault system that has been responsible for major earthquakes in the past and is located along the Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee and Kentucky boarders.

"If we're talking about the same fault as the last earthquake we felt, where the epicenter was around Greentown, (Ind.), we could see some damages such as broken windows," explained Bob Wydock, Grissom's deputy emergency manager. "But, if you're talking about the Madrid Fault cutting loose, there could be major damage, and we would be the location of choice for federal rescue services coming in to help."

And, with that great risk, comes great responsibility and preparation.

"It's important that we're prepared for any natural disaster so that we can survive it and continue on," explained Wydock. "By practicing for a disaster, you'll be better prepared for it, and the more you prepare, the better chance you have of surviving it."

And survival is a focus of Wydock and the entire Grissom Emergency Management Office.

"Mission continuation and force survivability is the whole reason why the Emergency Management shop exists," he said, adding that Grissom will continue to strive to prepare its personnel for any emergency situation.

Grissom is home to the 434th Air Refueling Wing, the largest KC-135R Stratotanker unit in the Air Force Reserve Command, as well as three Army Reserve units and a Marine Corps Reserve communications detachment.

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