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Officials Update Earthquake Emergency Procedure

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In this Aug. 24, 2011, file photo, damage to the Washington National Cathedral is seen the day after a earthquake shook Washington and much of the East Coast.
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File
In this Aug. 24, 2011, file photo, damage to the Washington National Cathedral is seen the day after a earthquake shook Washington and much of the East Coast.

The 5.8-magnitude earthquake that struck the D.C. region one year ago has changed the way officials view emergency preparedness. Emergency response plans that focus only on hurricanes, tornados, flooding, and snow have been or are being amended to include earthquakes.

Some states have enacted laws specifically related to the earthquake, and there is anecdotal evidence of a spike in insurance coverage for earthquake damage.

Federal and local officials stressed that residents, officials and governments should all have emergency response plans in place for a whole number of scenarios, including earthquakes.

In the D.C. area, authorities stressed the importance of not rushing out into the street or trying to leave work to flee home in the event of an earthquake, which is how they say how many residents reacted during last year's temblor.

The earthquake was centered 3 or 4 miles below Mineral, a central Virginia town, with fewer than 500 people.

The damage was estimated to be more than $200 million, and was powerful enough to cause cracks in the Washington Monument and damages to the National Cathedral.

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