Shane Morehead, Staff Writer

On August 24, 2016, a 6.2 magnitude earthquake hit central Italy. It was one of the deadliest quakes the country has seen in decades, claiming the lives of over 295 people. The epicenter was in a small town called Amitrice, and the aftershocks shook Rome 100 miles away. The town’s buildings have been decimated; streets that once were familiar are now flattened making the small town look like a war zone. The death toll is still rising as bodies are found. Italy is located right along a major fault line, but it was still totally unexpected. Ringgold is fairly close to the New Madrid as well as the East Coast fault line.  With this recent tragedy, we can’t help but wonder about an earthquake here, so we pursued an exclusive interview with the handsome science teacher Mike Buckler.

Shane Morehead: What would be the effects of an earthquake here in Ringgold?

Mike Buckler: We would experience a real hard shake, and things would fall off shelves.

SM: We didn’t expect a tornado, but it happened. Do you think the same thing could happen with an earthquake?

MB: We actually do get earthquakes quite often. They are typically small and go unnoticed, though. We have had four in the past month, and twenty three in the past year. The noticeable ones are above 2.0 on the Richter scale, and are close to the surface.

SM: Are any buildings here prone to destruction in the event of an earthquake?

MB: Barns, and old buildings.

SM: How can we prepare for an earthquake?

MB: Think of places to meet up with your family, because cell towers can be destroyed by strong quakes.

SM: Where should you go?

MB: Away from buildings. If not possible, the door frame is the strongest part of a wall.

SM: Do you have any experience with earthquakes?

MB: I was in elementary school in Charleston, running during recess, and I bounced a few steps to the side from an earthquake. My wife and I were woken up by an earthquake once. We thought it was a train until we remembered we didn’t live near any tracks.

As one can see, the threat of an earthquake here in Ringgold is bigger than you may have thought. It might be in everyone’s best interest to avoid buildings more, keep the location of local train tracks in mind, and know where those doorways are. Stay safe.