Utah sees great turnout for annual Great Shakeout

Posted at 7:15 PM, Apr 16, 2015
and last updated 2015-04-16 21:15:25-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- Quick: try to think of one event that doesn't rhyme with "Birch Fonference" that includes nearly a million Utahns in one event at one time.

About 946,000 Utahns signed up in one form or another to participate in the Great Utah Shakeout. They included elementary schools, state offices, businesses, and a group of high-level emergency coordinators at the Emergency Operations Center in the State Capitol complex.

Jona Whitesides directs the state Preparedness Bureau, and he said the point of the Shakeout is to make sure Utahns don't get complacent.

"Actually, we have a couple hundred earthquakes a year," Whitesides said. "Obviously they're very small and you don't feel them, but on the Wasatch Front, we've got the Wasatch fault line, which is huge. And, quite frankly, we're overdue for an earthquake."

Emergency coordinators and school students did exactly the same thing, ducking under desks and tables for the duration of the pretend quake, and then evacuating their respective buildings and taking role to make sure everyone was safe.

Click here for more details on the Great Utah Shakeout.

Many emergency preparedness tips and resources can be found at Be Ready Utah’s website, and experts also encourage people to download smart phone apps, suggesting the app from FEMA as well as several put out by the American Red Cross and one called FloodWatch.