More than 200 business and government leaders from eight states are meeting this week in Illinois to coordinate efforts on earthquake preparedness.
The "Capstone 14" workshop is hosted by the Central United States Earthquake Consortium at Sears Holdings' facility in Hoffman Estates.
Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee are represented.
The meeting is the first in a series of activities planned in the next two years. They will culminate in a large-scale preparedness exercise among the states and their business partners in 2014.
The states involved would be affected by a quake along the New Madrid Seismic Zone. Federal officials estimate a 7.7 magnitude tremor could kill 3,500 people, displace seven million more and cause $300 billion in damage.