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Ready for an earthquake? Help is here

March 3, 2019

A series of earthquakes recently rattled Utah County, but residents need not wonder how to be prepared or what to do if something more serious happens. Be Ready Utah has the answers.

Be Ready Utah, managed by the Utah Department of Public Safety’s Division of Emergency Management, is the state’s official emergency preparedness campaign

“Personal and family preparedness is the key to survival in, and in subsequent recovery from, emergencies and disasters. Increasing that preparedness statewide is our goal,” it reads on the campaign’s website, http://BeReadyUtah.gov.

In light of those recent earthquakes, residents might want to check out the earthquake section of the website. There, information can be found about what to do before, during and after an earthquake, which emergency supplies should be stored, how to secure furniture, organizing a neighborhood, tips for pets and other useful information.

Many people might not know that lower floors of buildings will shake rapidly while upper floors will have slower movement, but move farther from side to side. During an earthquake, people might feel dizzy and be unable to walk. If driving, drivers should pull over to the side of the road, stop and set the parking brake. In a stadium or theater, people should stay in their seats. These are just a few of the many tips for earthquake survival that are listed on the site.

Wade Mathews, section manager for Division of Emergency Management, said the recent sequence of earthquakes has very much been a wake-up call for Utah residents.

“We average around 700 earthquakes a year in Utah, but most of them are too small or too remote to be felt,” he said. “These recent quakes were in the middle of highly populated areas. They’re going to get people’s attention.

“I think as a whole, Utahns are much better prepared for disasters than residents of other states. There is a culture of preparedness here that encourages people to take action towards preparedness. I think a good percentage of people have disaster supply kits.”

Be Ready Utah is kept busy with requests for emergency preparedness booths at fairs and events and for emergency preparedness speaking engagements.

“However, there is always more that people can do to get prepared,” Mathews said.

One thing residents can do is to practice the earthquake protective action, Drop, Cover and Hold On. Drop where you are onto your hands and knees. Cover your head and neck with one arm and hand. Hold on until shaking stops.

Residents are also encouraged to participate in the Great Utah ShakeOut, which is held annually April 18. Registration for the ShakeOut and earthquake preparedness information can be found on the website and on the Be Ready Utah Facebook page.

Be Ready Utah’s outreach efforts, including setting up booths and providing presentations, are free. Scheduling of events can be done on the website by clicking “contact us.”

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