It’s coming: the Great Utah ShakeOut

Todd Vandenbark

At 10:15 a.m. on April 17th, 2012, the University of Utah will participate in the largest earthquake drill in UT history, the Great Utah ShakeOut. Eccles Library staff, along with the rest of the campus’ students, faculty and staff, will “Drop, Cover and Hold On,” the safest thing to do while in a building during an earthquake. Following an announcement that the quaking has ceased, library staff and patrons will evacuate the building and gather at a designated Emergency Assembly Point (EAP), where drill participants will be entered in a drawing to win an iPad 2!

How serious is the earthquake threat in this area? According to Utah’s Seismic Safety Commission:

90% of Utah’s population lives in active earthquake zones. If a 7.5 Richter Magnitude quake were to occur in the Salt Lake City area, it is projected that 7600 people would die and approximately $18 billion would be lost to physical damage and loss of jobs and economic activity.

Utah has experienced damaging earthquakes in the past and geologic evidence indicates that earthquakes larger than any experienced locally in historical time are likely in the future.

In an emergency, we have only seconds to respond to assure our safety. Drills and practice assure we will do the right thing under pressure. More information is available from Emergency Management at the U, and the Great Utah ShakeOut website, including an online game, “Beat the Quake.”

So join us in this historic practice event. And if you read this blog from outside the area, tell us about how the news of this drill came across in your area!