Law enforcement and emergency officials gathered in Hannibal Tuesday to participate in an earthquake exercise.
Representatives from 17 counties in northeast Missouri came together to discuss what to do if an earthquake hits their town or county.
In the simulation, the major earthquakes would have occurred on the New Madrid and Wabash fault line.
Emergency Management Director John Hark thinks it's only a matter of time until the exercise scenario becomes real.
"I'm a firm believer that one day the New Madrid can and will go as well as the Wabash," Hark said. "We've had shakes on both of them. And we're trying to prepare for that catastrophic event because we know that if we have a catastrophic event affecting us here, areas south of us is going to be a lot worse."
Hark also said if the natural disaster struck from those fault lines, eight states could be affected.
A practice like this also helps counties to prepare for any natural disaster.
Michael Barrett is the Director for the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency, and believes a practice like this also helps counties to prepare for any natural disaster.
"If we don't do the exercises, we get complacent, thinking 'Oh we haven't had one of these in years and we're not going to,' that's just wrong thinking, said Barrett. "It's doing the drills, doing the exercises that keep it fresh in our mind, because we don't know when that day will come. And as emergency responders, as first responders, it's our duty to the public to do these exercises so when that day comes, if that day comes, god forbid, we're ready."
Around 120 representatives were in Hannibal for the exercise.