“Earthquakes are something that can interfere and damage every aspect of a person’s life in 20 seconds,” says Scott Jones, Emergency Manager at Salt Lake Community College.
April is Earthquake Awareness Month and is commemorated nationwide by The Great ShakeOut. Each state participates in the event through schools, businesses and households.
“The Great Utah ShakeOut is a nationwide attempt to get people more aware and prepared for earthquakes,” says Jones.
The Great Utah ShakeOut is an earthquake drill that will last for 60 seconds. The event will begin on April 17 at 10:15 a.m.
“During the ShakeOut, students will drop, cover and hold on,” says Jones. This is the typical earthquake routine residents practice to stay safe in an earthquake.
The Great Utah ShakeOut’s website says that 90 percent of Utah’s population lives in earthquake active zones, and many Utah residents discount the hazard of an earthquake since the last moderate-to-large Utah earthquake was in 1847.
The time period between major earthquakes can be hundreds of years, so the Great Utah Shakeout Committee suggest residents be prepared just in case.
“Earthquakes are absolutely, 100 percent unpredictable, and they are probably the most catastrophic natural disaster,” says Jones.
According to Jones, earthquake awareness is important because earthquakes can impact anyone near a fault line.
“There is so much that can happen between interruption of utilities to damaging buildings to damaging roadways,” says Jones.
SLCC is a large participant in the ShakeOut, and Jones says that Utah is one of the most active states that participates. SLCC uses the Great ShakeOut to exercise communication capabilities between campuses.
“Having 10 campuses across 21 square miles, communication is probably the most important tool to us when it comes to responding and finding out what’s going on at all the campuses,” says Jones.
Residents of Utah can participate by logging on to shakeout.org and registering for the event. People who register are counted in the drill, receive email updates about the event, and are part of an active community to keep Utah aware of earthquake safety.