February is Earthquake Awareness Month & Tennesseans Should Prioritize Earthquake Preparedness

Thursday, February 01, 2024 | 12:51pm

NASHVILLE, Tenn. –  The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) is recognizing February 2024 as Earthquake Awareness Month and reminding Tennesseans to prioritize earthquake preparedness before a disaster. 

“In Tennessee’s history, powerful earthquakes have reshaped our geography and changed the course of rivers,” said TEMA Director and CUSEC Board Chairman Patrick Sheehan. “Earthquake Awareness Month is an opportunity for all Tennesseans to take the necessary steps to prepare and plan for the unexpected.”

Earthquakes frequently occur in Tennessee because the Volunteer State has two seismic zones – the New Madrid Seismic Zone (NMSZ) in the west and the East Tennessee Seismic Zone in the east. While earthquakes most often occur with little to no warning, there are actions you can take to protect yourself and your family.

One consideration is to purchase earthquake insurance, especially for homeowners located in Tennessee’s seismic zones. The Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance (TDCI) reminds consumers that earthquake insurance can lower consumers’ financial burden in the event of an earthquake. Traditional homeowners and business insurance policies do not cover earthquake damage.

“During Earthquake Awareness Month, I urge consumers to prepare for the potential financial impacts of earthquakes by learning more about earthquake insurance today,” said TDCI Commissioner Carter Lawrence. “Having adequate insurance coverage is a critical component of being prepared for the financial impacts of an earthquake.”

By acting today, you can reduce your vulnerability to earthquakes that may happen in the future. Remember these important tips:

  • Practice Drop, Cover, and Hold On with family, friends, and coworkers.
    • DROP to the ground,
    • Take COVER by getting under a sturdy desk or table, and
    • HOLD ON to it until the shaking stops.
  • Protect your home by securing heavy items like bookcases, refrigerators, water heaters, and televisions. Store heavy and breakable objects on low shelves.

TEMA works closely with the Central United States Earthquake Consortium (CUSEC), an eight-state partnership that facilitates earthquake preparedness and mitigation efforts across the region. Together, CUSEC, TEMA and the other member states, collaborate to conduct earthquake drills, provide technical expertise, and support opportunities for seismic hazard mitigation projects. Additional earthquake resources are available here.


About the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency: TEMA’s mission is to coordinate preparedness, response and recovery from man-made, natural and technological hazards in a professional and efficient manner in concert with our stakeholders. Follow TEMA on Facebook, Instagram, X, LinkedIn, and at tn.gov/tema.