Seismic safety steps, large and small

Dec 30, 2019, 1:53 PM
seismic retrofit earthquake prep...
Be Ready Utah recommends keeping shoes and a flashlight next to your bed, so you can evacuate more quickly if there's an earthquake. Photo: Getty Images

SALT LAKE CITY — As many buildings around Utah undergo seismic upgrades, Utah officials say you can be prepared for an earthquake as well.

Base isolators rest under the Utah State Capitol building so it can sway in the event of an earthquake. Other buildings around Utah, including the Salt Lake Temple, are also getting seismic upgrades. The temple will be closed for the next four years; the capitol building was closed between 2004 and 2008 for retrofit work.

“We know we live on a large earthquake fault,” said Be Ready Utah manager Wade Mathews. “The Wasatch Fault lies along where 90 percent of our population lives.”

A seismic shift in preparation

Experts say there’s about a 50 percent chance the Wasatch Front will play host to a magnitude six or larger earthquake sometime in the next half-century.

According to Mathews, a majority of any deaths or life-threatening injuries in a major earthquake would likely come from the collapse, either total or partial, of unreinforced masonry buildings: brick or block structures built before current seismic standards. He said Utah has about 147,000 unreinforced masonry buildings, many of which are homes.

The Utah Division of Emergency Management recommends people who own a home that fits into that category consider doing a seismic upgrade. In Salt Lake City, residents can apply for a grant to help with the expense.

What else can you do?

Even without doing major structural work to your home, Mathews says there are steps your family can take to stay safe, like securing loose, heavy objects such as bookshelves and water heaters. Most stores will sell anchor kits to help you do that.

“Move heavy objects from high shelves down to low shelves. Use velcro or contact paper or museum putty so things don’t fly off as easily,” he advised.

Similarly, he suggested using child locks on kitchen cabinets to prevent cans and plates from flying out during an earthquake.

Keeping a pair of shoes and flashlight next to every bed, he suggested, will help you evacuate more quickly and safely if you need to. Then, if the earth moves, he said, make sure your family knows to drop, cover and hold on.

“Get under a desk or chair or table and hold on. Or crouch and lean up against a wall that doesn’t have glass on it. That’s what drop, cover and hold on means,” he said.

If you do evacuate, Mathews said, make sure every family member knows where to meet up. Having a plan ahead of time, he said, makes sure everyone knows what to do.

Today’s Top Stories

All News

Two Murray police cruisers are shown...
Mark Jones

Explosion inside motorhome being investigated

One person was taken to the hospital with minor burns after an explosion inside a motorhome Wednesday evening in Murray.
21 hours ago
Photo of Roy Police cruiser...
Mark Jones

Breaking: 5-year-old child in critical condition after being hit by truck

A 5-year-old child was transported in critical condition to Primary Children's Hospital Wednesday evening after being hit by a truck, according to police in Roy.
21 hours ago
Doctoral student Suzi Creveling talks about her work on the Utah Bionic Leg in the new University o...
Mark Jones

University of Utah researchers unveil Utah Bionic Leg

The Utah Bionic Leg, unveiled Wednesday, was developed by researchers at the University of Utah,
21 hours ago
Rounds missing Box Elder County...
Mark Jones

Deputies say evidence pointing to homicide likely in case of Dylan Rounds

Deputies with the Box Elder County Sheriff's Office say evidence in the case of missing 19-year-old Dylan Rounds supports that a homicide likely took place.
21 hours ago
Protestors at the stolen piglets trial...
Elizabeth Weiler

Two men accused of stealing dying piglets from Utah farm face charges

The trial involving two stolen piglets is underway in St. George. The suspects are facing ten years or more in prison if convicted.
21 hours ago
paramore attack great saltair...
Simone Seikaly

Paramore condemns reported homophobic attack at concert

Paramore said the attack happened outside of their view and that they didn't find out about it until after the show.
21 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
large group of friends tohether in a park having fun...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

What differentiates BYU’s MBA program from other MBA programs

Commitment to service is at the heart of BYU’s MBA program, which makes it stand out among other MBA programs across the country.
a worker with a drill in an orange helmet installs a door in the house...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

Home improvement tip: Increase the value of your home by weatherproofing doors

Make sure your home is comfortable before the winter! Seasonal maintenance keeps your home up to date. Read our tips on weatherproofing doors.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
A paper reading IRS, internal revenue service is pictured...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Seismic safety steps, large and small