Thousands across the state practice earthquake safety as part of the Great Utah ShakeOut


Hundreds of thousands of Utahns took part in a drill Thursday morning to see how prepared they are in the event of an earthquake. (Derek Petersen, KSL-TV)

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SALT LAKE CITY — Hundreds of thousands of Utahns took part in a drill Thursday morning to see how prepared they were in the event of an earthquake.

It’s part of the Great Utah ShakeOut.

This is the 11th year that heads of state have rolled out the program.

We live in an earthquake country, so emergency officials say it’s important that we are prepared for the biggest one.

Students at Calvin Smith Elementary School in Taylorsville put their preparation into practice.

The announcement was made over the intercom and the students immediately got up from their chairs, dropped to the floor and crouched under the desks.

They were among approximately 900,000 participants in the Great Utah ShakeOut – the largest statewide earthquake drill.

Lisa McDonald, Principal of Calvin Smith Elementary, says they’ve spent weeks preparing students for the day.

“A lot of them remember the earthquake two years ago, so they said, ‘Oh, we had broken things in our house. “”

“The Magna earthquake was an eye opener for a lot of people. For many Utahans, maybe the first modern earthquake they’ve ever felt. They didn’t really know what to do,” said Wade Mathews of the Utah Division of Emergency Management.

He says the best way to protect yourself is to drop down, cover up, and hold on.

This may turn out differently depending on where you are.

“If you’re in bed, stay in bed and just pull your pillow over your head to protect your face and head from flying debris, objects falling off the shelves.”

If you are driving, stop as soon as it is safe to do so and stay in your car.

Mathews says not to run outside or into other rooms during the shaking and not to stand in a doorway.

The hope is that after doing these exercises, people feel more prepared for the threat of an earthquake.

“I want them to come away with a plan of what to do if it happens again,” McDonald said.

You can always sign up and schedule an exercise for another day and it will count towards the state’s one million attendance goal.

Visit the Great Utah ShakeOut website for a list of resources and emergency preparedness tips.

Tamara Vaifanua

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