SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — In the wake of Morocco’s devastating earthquake which left over 2,000 people dead, Utah officials are reminding residents of the local earthquake risk.

A magnitude 6.8 earthquake hit Morocco late Friday, Sept. 9, causing widespread death and devastation and even destroying entire communities in Northern Africa. It was the largest earthquake the country has seen in 120 years.

Utah Gov. Cox announced earlier today that the Utah National Guard will be sent to Morocco to assist in the cleanup and rescue efforts. While many are seeking to assist during this tragic event, others are reminding Utahns of the local earthquake risks.

Utah’s earthquake risk

The Utah Geological Survey posted on social media today as part of September’s National Preparedness Month. The post highlighted the free Utah earthquake survival guide available online to local residents.

The 40-page book, titled “Putting Down Roots in Earthquake Country,” stresses the “very real risk of a major earthquake” that would likely affect the majority of Utah’s population.

The book says over 85% of Utah’s population lives within 15 miles of the Wasatch fault. It also claims that more than 75% of Utah’s economy and the majority of state facilities are all near the fault line.

Perhaps the most frightening portion of the book is the estimated loss Utah would experience should a magnitude 7 earthquake occur along the Wasatch fault. Experts predict there would be over 15,000 life-threatening injuries or fatalities with over $75 billion of damage.

Magnitudes of historical earthquakes. (Modified from Incorporated Research Institutes for Seismology, IRIS via Utah Seismic Safety Commission)

Safety tips

While the book does spend significant time on maps, graphics, and statistics, it also provides essential tips to prepare for a potential earthquake in Utah.

The safety tips begin on page 29 of the online guide and walk through initial important steps such as dropping to the floor, crawling to a place with a cover over your head such as a desk or table, and holding on. Experts also say if you are in bed stay there and cover your head with pillows or blankets.

When the shaking stops, the book suggests gathering family members and meeting them outside the home. In the case of an aftershock, follow the ‘drop, cover, hold’ advice given above.

To prepare for the best possible outcome ahead of time, there are a few things Utah experts suggest.

A disaster supply kit is a collection of basic items that your household may need in the event of a natural disaster or emergency. (Courtesy of Adobe Stock/SpeedShutter)

First, keep a financial disaster recovery kit in a fire-proof document safe, including birth certificates, passports, critical medical information, and family photos. This kit should also include at least $200 in cash, bank statements, and any wills or trust documents.

Next, the book provides detailed instructions on how to prepare your home by mitigating hazards. Some of the suggestions include keeping emergency ladders upstairs and installing night lights in hallways. It also includes fire safety tips such as avoiding plugging in too many appliances in the same outlet.

Finally, the book provides a list of what to keep in an emergency supply kit, such as flashlights, medication, feminine items, lip balm, gallons of water, strollers, and walking canes.

For more information, checklists, and safety tips see the online book here.