TAYLORSVILLE, Utah — Hundreds of thousands of people across Utah took part in the annual "Great ShakeOut" drill to educate and prepare residents for the possibility of a large earthquake.
Thursday was the tenth anniversary of Utah conducting the event with a goal of having one million people take part.
The annual drill became very real after the Magna earthquake two years ago. That was a 5.7 earthquake which caused a lot of damage, but didn’t result in serious injuries and served as an invaluable reminder.
“A 5.7 is significant but it could’ve been much worse," said John Crofts, Utah's earthquake program manager. "So this is a great opportunity for us to understand that we do live in earthquake country and we do have earthquake threats.”
At 10:15 a.m., employees at a state office complex in Taylorsville filed out and followed team leaders who were wearing red backpacks as they assembled in the parking lot. In the event of a real earthquake, the employees would learn where to go and what to do next.
“Today is a great opportunity for people to practice ‘drop, cover and hold on,'” added Crofts.
Earthquakes are hard to predict, but seismologist say there is a very real chance of a significant one rattling the state is not-too-distant future.
“We have about a coin toss chance of an earthquake in the next 50 years. So it’s really good for us to be prepared for an earthquake, to be ready right now and to look at what we can do to improve and mitigate our earthquake risks for the future,” added Crofts.
There are hundreds of small earthquakes in Utah every year, with most going undetected by residents. However, information tells seismologists there’s a real possibility of the "big one."
Residents are urged to be prepared in in the event of a large earthquake, including having an emergency supply kit handy that contains water, food, basic tools and flashlights.
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