Scientists say Utah’s Wasatch Front faces a 1-in-7 chance of being hit by a magnitude 7.0 earthquake sometime in the next 50 years.
The Great Utah ShakeOut Drill, scheduled for 10:15 a.m. on April 18, is a statewide earthquake drill spanning all 29 Utah counties. Presentations, preparedness fairs, and other activities will take place at homes, schools, government offices and businesses throughout the Beehive state.
Statistics show 90% of Utah’s population lives in active earthquake zones, but have never experienced a damaging earthquake in the state. The ShakeOut is a one day, once-a-year event meant to help people and organizations better prepare for a major earthquake and reduce losses.
More than 35,000 Cache Valley residents are participating in this year’s drill, including employees at Elevate Pest Control in Logan.
Mark Marrott, Elevate’s COO, has a Bachelor’s degree in Emergency Management and believes businesses need to be proactive and prepared for any type of disaster.
“Businesses that are resilient in a disaster actually help the economy stay moving forward, which gets us to recover more quickly as a community,” said Marrott.
Marrott plans to spend time educating his 30 plus employees on what to do before, during and after an earthquake.
“We are actually going to do the whole Drop, Cover and Hold On drill,” he said. “We are going to go through that process and help people to start looking at things in our work environment that can actually cause issues.”
One of those issues, according to Marrott, could potentially be the building he and his employees work in.
“We are a typical old building that’s brick and mortar, which is susceptible to high amounts of damage in an earthquake,” said Martott. “So we are going to be looking at some of the things around our building and in our building that can actually cause bodily harm.”
Marrott said he takes the safety of his employees seriously and participating in the ShakeOut is just the first step.
“Over the next few months, we plan to focus on disaster supplies at work,” he said. “We have some responsibility to take care of people in the short haul while they try and get home.”
Many Utah residents have no doubt felt the small temblors that have hit portions of the state the last several months.
Recently, the U.S. Geological Survey says a 4.0-magnitude earthquake struck about 20 miles southwest of Fillmore on April 12.
A 2.7-magnitude earthquake followed near the same area.
The University of Utah Seismograph Stations (UUSS) located 160 earthquakes that occurred in the Bluffdale, Utah, area from February 13 to March 5. The largest of the quakes was a 3.7-magnitude on February 15.
According to UUSS analyst Paul Roberson, these small jolts are a reminder that the earthquake threat in Utah is real and a group of minor earthquakes doesn’t lessen the chance of “the big one” coming some day.
For more information on The Great Utah ShakeOut, you can visit www.shakeout.org.