An earthquake preparedness drill brought the National Guardsmen to Monette by helicopter last Wednesday with water and food supplies. The helicopter was met by city and county officials, emergency agencies, members of Craighead County road department, David Moore, Craighead county E911 director and other community members including the firefighters and police officers.
If a major quake happened along the new Madrid Fault, bridges would probably go down and supplies and help would have to come in from the air.
The Wednesday drill was the conclusion of several drills in the area including a collapse of an elementary school in Jonesboro on Monday and a simulated train derailment on Tuesday. It was all part of the FEMA's National Level Exercise 2011.
Also on hand for the drill were Charles John and Steve Mier with Sandio National Laboratories of California doing a pilot program coordinating with Jonesboro's Emergency Management, Arkansas Emergency Management to assist them in damage assessments, situation awareness and for emergency response.
Moore said the drills are a culmination of two years of work.
"This is important to see how the plans work and see how well the different agencies work together," Moore said. "We have to work well together."
The Craighead County workers unloaded the helicopter and loaded the water and MREs on a truck to transport to Black Oak where supplies will be stored in a part of the Craighead County Road shop.
The helicopter picked up the supplies in Stuttgart for the drop in Monette.
Monette Mayor Chub Qualls assisted in coordinating the Monette event.
"I just hope we never have to really do this," Mayor Qualls said. "We have to be prepared. One of the greatest fears for any mayor is a disaster where the whole community is affected and everyone is depending on us to help. We survived the ice storm and that was bad and I hope we never have to experience an earthquake. We have to be as prepared as we can. I appreciate our emergency teams."
Moore expressed his appreciation to everyone who helped with the drills. He said Craighead County Judge Ed Hill was very supportive in the drills.