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It’s time for the Great Utah Shake-Out

Apr 15, 2021, 9:13 AM
Utah earthquake study...
FILE: Caution tape surrounds the VFW building on Magna’s Main Street on Tuesday, March 24, 2020, following a 5.7 magnitude earthquake that was centered near the city on March 18. Photo credit: Steve Griffin, Deseret News

 It’s time once again to practice earthquake preparedness during the Great Utah Shake-Out. 

Joe Dougherty with the Utah Department of Public Safety said the basic message of the Shake-Out is: “Remember what to do to be safe when the Earth shakes.  Drop.  Cover.  And Hold-On. 

Last year there was a drop in the number of registered participants for the Shake-Out, but Dougherty said there are 715,000 people signed up for today’s event.  He says the purpose of the event is to get thinking about being prepared are ready to respond to an earthquake.  One important reason to practice your response is so it’s natural and not something you have to think about. 

Opinion: The earthquake reminded me I’m not alone in my basement

Dougherty said people on social media told him they learned “people were not as ‘prepared as they could have been’ for last year’s 5.7 magnitude quake in Magna.”  He says today’s event is a chance for those who feel that way to do better. 

So, what do emergency officials want you to do for the Great Shake-Out? 

At 10:15 this morning they want you to simulate that there’s an earthquake and react just like there was an earthquake going on.  Dougherty says you should “drop to the ground, take cover and hold on.”  He says that’s pretty basic, but the main thing is to “find a way to protect yourself from any nonstructural things that could hit you or come loose in an earthquake.”  Most people who get injured in an earthquake are hit by things that are not part of the building. 

School kids are expected to be a big part of the Shake-Out with students dropping below their desks and holding on to the table legs during the drill.  Dougherty says a main goal of the Shake-Out is to actually develop muscle memory so when a real earthquake hits you don’t find yourself confused and make mistakes like running outside while the shaking is still going on.  You can download manuals and ideas about earthquake preparedness at the Shake-Out website: shakeout.org. 

What to do during an earthquake: Here’s what the experts say

One thing most of us may have heard is probably not a good idea, and that’s hiding in a doorframe.  Dougherty says that idea came about because of a picture of an adobe house that collapsed in an earthquake, and the only thing left standing was the arched doorway.  But he says doorways are not usually the strongest structures in homes.  That’s why it’s important to get down on the ground and hide under something sturdy. 

 

Reflecting on lessons learned, new information one-year after Utah earthquake

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It’s time for the Great Utah Shake-Out