Indonesia just experienced two massive earthquakes, and just yesterday a 4.3 magnitude quake rattled Utah’s Garfield County. This re-emphasizes the fact that Utahns need to prepare. This also underscores the importance of the largest earthquake drill in our state’s history, The Great Utah Shakeout. We've "scheduled" a mock earthquake next Tuesday, April 17th at 10:15 a.m.
Our Emergency Management Administrative Council has been planning The Great Utah Shakeout for more than two years. We've learned sobering lessons from other states about their responses to natural disasters. We're hoping we can minimize casualties and damage by staging this comprehensive earthquake drill.
The Governor’s Office will fully participate in the Shakeout. After the initial “Drop, Cover and Hold” period, we will evacuate the Capitol Building, practice public announcements, hold a Cabinet briefing, and observe the Emergency Operations Center (EOC). I'll take a helicopter tour to assess potential damage and establish communications with our EOC and the Governor. I'll meet with the Utah National Guard and observe their preparations and earthquake drill practice.
Please review the excellent website www.shakeout.org/utah and sign up to participate. Go to www.bereadyutah.gov and learn how to protect yourself and your family when the earth starts to move. The Utah Shakeout will simulate a 7.0 magnitude quake. Simple things can make a big difference. For instance, fatalities would plummet if people wouldn't run out of buildings during an earthquake. Too many people die from falling debris as they exit a building in panic. Find out what to do, and then teach your family and co-workers.
I commend the Division of Emergency Management and partner agencies throughout the state at every level of government who have organized, promoted, advertised and involved community groups to encourage participation. We originally hoped that we might have 700,000 participants. We now have over 856,000 Utahns who've signed up to participate, along with over 260 businesses, large and small. More than 570,000 students will participate in earthquake drills. Still, we have a long way to go to make sure all 2.8 million of our citizens and businesses are ready and prepared.
The Great Utah Shakeout is a good reminder to all of us to be prepared. Decide where your family will meet in case of an emergency, who will get the kids from school or daycare, and where they will go if you can't get to them. Have someone out of state your family can call if you can't get through to each other. Think about your elderly relatives. Have vital supplies, especially water, and equipment close. Secure furniture and objects that could hurt you and your loved ones and business associates. TV's, shelves and unsecured cabinets can become projectiles in an earthquake. Think about your pets and large animals. Become familiar with what you need to do to protect yourself and what you can do to help others. Be smart, be prepared. Join us next Tuesday in practicing "Drop, Cover and Hold" at 10:15 a.m. THE GREAT UTAH SHAKEOUT.