Students at Salt Lake Community College had to stop, drop and hold on during the Great Utah ShakeOut at 10:15 a.m. on April 16.
An estimated 700,000 people took part in this year’s drill, according to emergency response manager Scott Jones. All schools, government buildings and large business were expected to participate.
“We are better prepared the more than we practice,” says Jones. “We will only have a matter of seconds to respond.”
Jones says the most important thing to do during an earthquake is take cover under a table or a desk or any strong structure.
“The most common injuries of an earthquake are from things that are falling, or glass breaking,” says Jones.
Jones advises families to work toward being personally accountable for their well-being in case of an emergency. This includes having enough water, food and other resources for self-sustainability.
“It is important to have emergency response plans. Make plans with your family and household. Know the plans of the school or your workplace. It’s important to have strong communication.”
While experts stress the importance of drills, they may seem unnecessary to some who participate.
SLCC student Maros Jimenez was on campus during the drill and feels it fell short in preparing him for an actual emergency.
“I don’t really feel prepared from the drill, but I’m prepared as I’ll ever be,” says Jimenez.
SLCC student Wilma Lazaro-Urcinole considers the drill to be crucial.
“A lot of people don’t know what to do in case of an emergency and as a result their first instinct is to panic,” says Lazaro-Urcinole.
“I work at the University of Utah hospital, and if [the staff] didn’t know what to do, if the hospital visitors and patrons didn’t know what to do, it would be chaos.”
The Great Utah ShakeOut is part of the larger Great ShakeOut, which promotes earthquake preparedness around the world.