The Great Utah Shake Out!
Millions of people worldwide practice how to Drop, Cover, and Hold On each year during Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills!
Utahns can join them by registering today for the Great Utah ShakeOut. The 2020 Utah ShakeOut Day is on April 15, though you can register to hold your ShakeOut drill on any day of the year. Participating is a great way for your family to be prepared to survive and recover quickly from big earthquakes – wherever you live, work, or travel.
More Information available at https://www.shakeout.org/utah/.
Goal: Help your family be prepared for an earthquake
Review the information below and choose the activities that best fit your family's situation to participate in the Great Utah Shake Out!
As you help your children prepare focus on prosocial themes of friendship, exploration, problem-solving, and cooperation.
Let children take the lead on different activities to prepare the home. Let them choose which things they want to be the lead on.
Be sure to notice what your kids do well and praise them for what they are doing.
Be sure to point out to the kids how the preparation they are doing contributes to the safety of the family and could literally save lives. Build them up and help them feel good about the impact they are having on the family.
→ When you experience an earthquake:
Recommendations from the United States Geological Survey:
- If you’re inside: Stay inside — then drop, cover and hold on! Get under a desk or table and hang on so it doesn’t slide away. If there’s no desk or table readily available, move into a hallway or against an inside wall. Stay away from windows, fireplaces, heavy furniture and appliances — and get out of the kitchen! Don't run downstairs or rush outside while the building is shaking.
- In bed: If you are in bed, hold on and stay there, protecting your head with a pillow. You are less likely to be injured staying where you are. Broken glass on the floor has caused injury to those who have rolled to the floor or tried to get to doorways.
- In a high-rise: Drop, cover, and hold on. Avoid windows and other hazards. Do not use elevators. Do not be surprised if sprinkler systems or fire alarms activate.
- In a stadium or theater: Stay at your seat and protect your head and neck with your arms. Don't try to leave until the shaking is over. Then walk out slowly watching for anything that could fall in the aftershocks.
- In a wheelchair: Lock the wheels once you are in a safe position. If unable to move quickly, stay where you are. Cover your head and neck with your arms.
- Move away from windows. They can break during an earthquake. So can glass in partitions. Stay away.
- If you’re outside: Get into the open away from power lines, chimneys, buildings and anything else that might fall on top of you.
- If you’re driving: Stop driving, but carefully — don’t ever stop on or under a bridge or overpass or under trees, light posts, power lines or signs. Set the parking brake. Move your car out of traffic as much as possible. Stay in your car until the shaking stops. Stay inside the vehicle until the shaking is over. If a power line falls on the car, stay inside until a trained person removes the wire. When you continue driving, watch for breaks in the pavement or other debris in the road.
- In the Outdoors: Move to a clear area if you can safely do so; avoid power lines, trees, signs, buildings, vehicles, and other hazards.
- If you’re in a mountainous area: Watch out for rockslides, landslides, trees and other debris that the earthquake might have loosened.
- Below a dam: Dams can fail during a major earthquake. Catastrophic failure is unlikely, but if you live downstream from a dam, you should know flood-zone information and have prepared an evacuation plan.
→ In the minutes immediately following the earthquake:
- Check on your family members and prepare yourself in case a larger earthquake hits.
- Check yourself for injuries and get first aid, if necessary, before helping injured or trapped persons.
- Open closet and cabinet doors carefully as contents may have shifted.
- Look for and extinguish small fires. Fire is the most common hazard after an earthquake.
- If you are at home, look quickly for damage in and around your home and get everyone out if your home is unsafe.
- After an earthquake, the disaster may continue. Expect and prepare for potential aftershocks, landslides or even a tsunami if you live on a coast.
- Each time you feel an aftershock, DROP, COVER and HOLD ON. Aftershocks frequently occur minutes, days, weeks and even months following an earthquake.
- Listen to a portable, battery operated or hand crank radio for updated emergency information and instructions.
- Pay attention to how you and your loved ones are experiencing and handling stress. Promote emotional recovery by following these tips.
- Watch animals closely and keep them under your direct control.
- Help people who require additional assistance—infants, elderly people, those without transportation, large families who may need additional help in an emergency situation, people with disabilities, and the people who care for them.
- Stay out of damaged buildings.
- Use extreme caution and examine walls, floors, doors, staircases and windows to check for damage.
- Watch out for fallen power lines or broken gas lines and report them to the utility company immediately.
- If you smell natural or propane gas or hear a hissing noise, leave immediately and call the fire department.
- If away from home, return only when authorities say it is safe to do so.
- Be careful when driving after an earthquake and anticipate traffic light outages.
→ After you've ensured that those around you are safe:
- Check your home for damage — especially broken gas or water lines. Report any broken lines, especially gas, to the authorities and get out of the house if there is damage.
- Wear protective clothing, including long pants, a long-sleeved shirt and sturdy shoes, and be cautious.
- Clean up spilled medications, bleach, gasoline or other flammable liquids immediately.
- Learn about your area’s seismic building standards and land use codes before you begin any construction.
- Learn more about how to clean up after an earthquake, including the supplies you’ll need and how to handle fire hazards such as gas, electricity and chemicals.
- Did you know you can help those tracking earthquakes to better understand the earthquake you felt? Take a few minutes within 24 of the earthquake to REPORT what you felt and what your experience with it was.
How to prepare for an earthquake
Be Ready Utah recommends a few steps to earthquake preparedness in Your Handbook for Utah Earthquakes.
→ Identify potential hazards in your home and fix them (pg 22):
- Secure hanging objects on closed hooks.
- Do not hang heavy items, such as pictures and mirrors, near beds, couches and anywhere people sleep or sit.
- Place only "soft art" like unframed posters and rugs above the bed.
- Secure objects on shelves with earthquake putty
- Secure cabinet doors and refrigerators
- Place large and heavy objects and breakable items (bottled foods, glass or china) on lower shelves.
- Move or secure things that could fall on you. Look for books, potted plants, and heavy objects that could fall and injure you during an earthquake. Move them somewhere else, or secure them.
- Bolt and brace water heaters and gas appliances to wall studs. Have a professional install flexible fittings to avoid gas or water leaks.
- Install strong latches or bolts on cabinets. Large or heavy items should be closest to the floor.
- Learn how to shut off the gas valves in your home and keep a wrench handy for that purpose.
- Anchor overhead lighting fixtures to joists.
- Anchor top-heavy, tall and freestanding furniture such as bookcases, china cabinets to wall studs to keep these from toppling over.
- Have a professional make sure your home is securely anchored to its foundation, as well as strengthening tips for exterior features, such as porches, decks, sliding glass doors, canopies, carports and garage doors.
- Heavy objects, such as computer terminals and top-heavy furniture may be a threat. Determine how they can be secured. If they cannot be secured, be ready to move away from them in an earthquake.
- Keep a pair of hard-bottom slippers by your bed to protect your feet from broken glass and other debris if needed
- Keep a flashlight and emergency kit by the bed to grab
- Have a professional assess your pipes and appliances.
→ Create a disaster preparedness plan (pg 24): Get together with your family and come up with a plan on how you will stay safe during the earthquake and how you will respond and communicate after the earthquake.
→ Prepare disaster supply kits (pg 25): Create personal and household disaster kits. Be Ready Utah has a list of helpful items to include.
→ Identify your building's potential weaknesses and begin to fix them (pg 26): Is your house, condo or apartment strong enough to withstand an earthquake? Check on its structural safety.
→ Know the location of
- Emergency exits
- Fire alarms
- Fire extinguishers
→ Store Emergency Supplies:
- A portable radio for information following a disaster
- A flashlight; power may fail in an earthquake
- Tennis shoes for ease of movement, especially down stairwells following an earthquake
- Food and water; at home keep at least a 3-day supply; at work keep enough for immediate needs
- Medicines; store extra supplies of any medications you depend on
- Emergency literature, like this brochure; store material you’ll need to refer to in an emergency
→ When will the next one be?
A Professor and his students have been studying emergency preparedness in New Zealand where a 7.1 magnitude earthquake hit Christchurch in 2010. There was damage but no loss of life. Four months later, a 6.3 magnitude earthquake hit the city and destroyed it. The lesson that they want to share with the world is this:
Everybody thinks it's not going to happen. They ask, 'When is the next one?'
The Answer: 'Tomorrow at 1 o'clock.' Of course we all know that predicting the next earthquake is not predictable, but the message is important: 'Be prepared as though it were happening tomorrow at 1 o'clock.'
→ Ready for some fun?
Check out the U of U Seismograph Stations: http://www.seis.utah.edu/
→ For More Information:
→ Other Links of Interest
Community Engagement Adventure
Ready to take this Adventure to the next level?
Work together with other youth in your neighborhood to organize the neighborhood to be prepared:
by Family Safety: