Meeting held to calm fears after Oklahoma earthquakes

Authorities in Oklahoma held a meeting Thursday night in Prague to help calm nerves and dispel rumors after the earthquakes last weekend. Officials said no strong earthquakes are likely in the near future, and that authorities are always as prepared as possible for disasters.
BY MICHAEL KIMBALL mkimball@opubco.com Modified: November 11, 2011 at 8:17 am •  Published: November 11, 2011
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PRAGUE — Officials gathered in Prague on Thursday night to assure residents concerned about the recent earthquakes that the worst is most likely over, and that they're prepared as they can be for any possible disaster in the area.

The American Red Cross of Central Oklahoma helped organize the meeting, which was held in the Prague Community Center and featured officials from the Oklahoma Geological Survey, state Emergency Management Department, Lincoln County emergency management office, state Insurance Department, Salvation Army and other groups.

Local Red Cross spokesman Rusty Surette said 400 to 500 people attended the two-hour meeting. Surette said some residents were passionate about their concerns.

“A lot of residents expressed frustration and concern,” he said. “I think a lot of that comes from not having a clear-cut answer for the cause of the earthquakes. I think a number of residents were hoping for an answer, but there wasn't a clear-cut answer.”

Still, most who attended were glad to have the opportunity to hear from experts on earthquakes.

“This was an opportunity for a lot of people to come together in one room with every agency and organization that plays a role in earthquake response and to ask questions,” he said. “It allowed for a great educational opportunity on how to best prepare for and react to earthquakes.”

Lincoln County Emergency Manager Joey Wakefield said rumors had run amok in Prague and other communities affected by the weekend's earthquakes, including a rumor that another, larger quake sure to strike soon was being denied by authorities who knew it was coming.

“We just wanted to help address those rumors and reassure people that we're on top of things,” Wakefield said.

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