EVANSVILLE, Ind. (AP) — One of two federal government-sponsored forums in Midwestern cities to help businesses prepare for a major earthquake will be held in Evansville.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency says the goal of the September program is to educate businesses about the risks posed by earthquakes and offer advice on how they can reduce a quake’s impact on their community.

“A community cannot fully recover from a damaging earthquake until its businesses have recovered,” said David Maurstad, a FEMA assistant administrator.

He said “small and emerging businesses” are typically the least prepared for earthquakes.

The Evansville forum will be held only months after a 5.2-magnitude earthquake shook the Midwest, causing minor damage in southwestern Indiana. The April 18 quake’s epicenter was about 45 miles from Evansville, near West Salem, Ill.

It was centered within the Wabash Valley Seismic Zone, a seismically active area spanning southeastern Illinois, southwestern Indiana and parts of western Kentucky that geologists estimate is capable of producing at least a magnitude 6.5 earthquake.

In the five months since that quake, dozens of aftershocks have been recorded, the most recent a 3.1-magnitude on July 17 about five miles northwest of Mount Carmel, Ill.

For the QuakeSmart effort, FEMA is teaming with the Atlanta-based Safe America Foundation, which focuses on safety and disaster preparedness. The other QuakeSmart forum in the Midwest is planned for Cape Girardeau, Mo., with others in Monterey, Calif., and Reno, Nev.

Len Pagano, president and CEO of Safe America, said that his group hopes the forums can “engage the community leadership” to promote earthquake mitigation efforts.

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