SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – On Thursday, April 20 at around 10 a.m., police, schools, businesses, and cities across Utah will be participating in a statewide practice drill in anticipation of a devastating earthquake.
The Great Utah Shake Out is a statewide drill to allow people and organizations an opportunity to better prepare and practice how to protect themselves when a major earthquake happens. According to Shake Out, 90% of Utah’s population lives in active earthquake zones. Perhaps most famous is the Wasatch Fault Line which stretches from southern Idaho down toward Fayette, Utah.
The drill will officially kick off at 10:15 a.m. During this time over 870,000 Utahns will be practicing their earthquake safety.
Sandy City said in a press release it will be conducting a full test of its emergency communications systems at 10 a.m. The City said it will be pushing out notifications through social media, emails, text messages, robocalls, marquee, and on the city’s website.
Once the test is over, Sandy will ask for community feedback through a survey to find out what worked and what didn’t.
“We have fresh memories of the earthquake in 2020,” explained Sandy Mayor Monica Zoltanski. “It brought into focus the importance of quickly seeking shelter and immediately checking for gas leaks in and around our homes.”
Other cities such as Bountiful, South Jordan, Riverton, Taylorsville, Aurora, Tooele, Orem, and Payson will be joining Sandy in their practice for a major earthquake.
In Wayne County, Dispatch crews will be setting off different warning siren tones as part of their test of communication services.
In Carbon County, fire departments, law enforcement, helicopters and more will be working in partnership with Sally Mauro Elementary School. In the planned exercise, emergency first responders will be practicing rescue missions and emergency communications between agencies.
“It’s a full-scale exercise all the way from the initial 911 call, clear til the end of patients actually being transported to Castleview [Hospital],” said Carbon County Sheriff Jeff Wood in a video posted to social media. “Part of what we want to try to learn is challenges we might have with traffic around the school and other unforeseen issues that could arise were an event like this to come up.”
The Utah government said about 1.6 million people live along the Wasatch Front and could feel the effect of an earthquake should one hit. In 2020, the Wasatch Front was shaken by a 5.7-magnitude earthquake that knocked out power for over 73,000 people and was followed by more than 90 aftershocks.
The epicenter was located just north of Magna, but the shocks were felt throughout Salt Lake, even damaging buildings downtown.
Smaller quakes are common throughout Utah. In February, a 3.2 earthquake rocked Box Elder County residents, while in early January a series of low-magnitude earthquakes shook Cache County.
To learn more about how to be prepared in the event of an earthquake or to get more information on the statewide drill, visit the Great Utah Shake Out’s website.