Are you ready for an earthquake in Utah?

Apr 9, 2024, 6:00 PM | Updated: Apr 16, 2024, 4:48 pm


In this image taken from a video footage run by TVBS, a partially collapsed building is seen in Hualien, eastern Taiwan on Wednesday, April 3, 2024. A powerful earthquake rocked the entire island of Taiwan early Wednesday, collapsing buildings in a southern city and creating a tsunami that washed ashore on southern Japanese islands. (TVBS via AP)

(TVBS via AP)

SALT LAKE CITY — On April 18, Utah residents statewide will participate in earthquake drills at work, school or home.

On April 3, a magnitude 7.4 earthquake struck the central-eastern coast of Taiwan.

Taiwan earthquake: an earthquake scientist on what we know so far and what may happen next

Then, on April 5, a 4.8-magnitude earthquake rattled New York City. The epicenter was in Tewksbury, in central New Jersey, about 40 miles west of NYC.

Magnitude 4.8 earthquake hits New York City region

Utah earthquake expert joins the show

“The Taiwan quake would have been about 1,000 times more powerful than the New York quake,” said Wade Mathews of the Utah Division of Emergency Management’s Be Ready Utah. He joins Dave and Debbie to discuss The Great Shake Out and what it means to drop, cover and hold during an earthquake.


Mathews said it’s difficult to judge the magnitude of an earthquake while caught up in it.

“You don’t know really to begin with. That’s why we want this just to be second nature. Don’t wait for more information. Drop, cover and hold, right here, right now,” he stressed.

According to The ShakeOut, here’s how to do that:

  • DROP where you are onto your hands and knees. This position protects you from being knocked down and reduces your chances of being hit by falling or flying objects.
  • COVER your head and neck with one arm and hand. If a sturdy table or desk is nearby, crawl underneath for shelter.
    If no shelter is nearby, crawl next to an interior wall.
    Stay on your knees; bend over to protect vital organs.
  • HOLD ON until the shaking stops. Under shelter: hold on to it with one hand; be ready to move with your shelter if it shifts.

In an earthquake, don’t run

If you don’t have a table or chair to cover and hold on to, “get up against a wall that doesn’t have any glass overhead — no mirrors, windows, picture frames. Kneel down on the floor and just cover your head [and] neck with your arms and hands,” Mathews said.

Also, make sure the wall you are sheltering against has no shelves or cupboards overhead.

“If you’re in bed, don’t run out to grab the kids or whatever. You do that after the shaking stops. Just stay in bed and pull a pillow over your head,” Mathews said.

If you are inside a store when an earthquake erupts, don’t run for an exit but rather get to the end of an aisle where there are no shelves overhead. But if you cannot, tip over a grocery cart and get underneath for protection.

If you are outside when a quake hits, get to an open area, stay away from telephone poles, trees and buildings and stay there.

Don’t shelter inside a doorway

The age-old advice for safety during an earthquake was to seek shelter in a doorway. But the door during a quake will flip violently back and forth.

“We don’t want people getting knocked out of the doorway, fingers smashed, anything like that. So we don’t talk about standing in doorways with with doors in them. If it’s an entryway, like from a living room to a hallway, that’s OK,” Mathew said.

If you are inside a building when a quake strikes, don’t run for an exit because it’s difficult to move forward in a straight line as the contents of the room you are in will be sliding back and forth across the floor.

Instead, drop. 

If you don’t, you may get struck by something that will knock you over.

“Stay in the building until the shaking stops,” Mathews advised.

If you are in a car during a quake, don’t stop on a bridge or under an overpass, he said.

“Try not to stop under big trees [or] power lines or buildings . . . and just stay in the car.”


Video: The worst places to be during an earthquake

State lawmaker requests funds to bring early earthquake warning system to Utah

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play. 

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Are you ready for an earthquake in Utah?