Drop, cover and hold on: Utahns to practice earthquake safety

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The annual Great Utah Shakeout will take place Thursday, April 15. The event is designed to help Utahns practice earthquake safety. (Utah ShakeOut)

Utahns will participate in an event designed to promote earthquake safety on Thursday, April 15.

The Great Utah ShakeOut is an annual event to prepare people across the state for the possibility of a large earthquake. Event organizers provide individuals, schools and businesses with instructions and resources to hold their own emergency earthquake drills and simulations.

Over 90% of Utahns live in earthquake zones, so organizers have tried to address the importance of preparation for this potential natural disaster over the past few years.

Last March, a historic 5.7 magnitude earthquake rocked homes across the Wasatch Front. While BYU reported no damage after the quake, others around the state were not as fortunate. The ShakeOut is meant to address future earthquakes and prepare people for what may come.

“Many Utah residents discount the earthquake hazard based on the near absence of moderate to large earthquakes, particularly along the Wasatch Front,” the ShakeOut website says. “Most people living in Utah today have not experienced a damaging earthquake in the state.”

ShakeOut organizers believe in the importance of preparing for times of emergency so residents are prepared for what could come.

Earthquake safety is simply taught through the slogan “drop, cover and hold on.” This phrase describes what to do when inside a building during a quake: drop to the ground, take cover by getting under a sturdy desk or table, and hold on to it until the shaking stops.

In order to react quickly, the organizers say, you must practice often in order to create safe habits.

Other earthquake safety procedures are also addressed during the drill. Practicing all sorts of situations allows people to become more comfortable with what they will do if the opportunity presents itself.

Over 680,000 residents are registered to participate in this year’s Great Utah ShakeOut. More information about registration can be found on the ShakeOut’s website.

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