Preparing for earthquakes

Citing the anniversaries of powerful Utah earthquakes in Ogden (May 1914) and Kosomo (March 1934), Governor John Huntsman has declared April 2009 to be “Earthquake Preparedness Month.”

Utah’s rich history of earthquakes from St. George to the Idaho border is reason enough to be prepared, and Huntsman said the prospect of a major earthquake keeps him up at night. There has long been an “Earthquake Preparedness Week” in Utah, but Huntsman would like to see the efforts broadened.

Previous Utah earthquakes have caused rockslides that have destroyed homes, and extensive damage spanning entire counties. But as they are not in our recent memories, it is easy to go about our daily lives with no thought to earthquake preparedness at all. We are all (hopefully) aware of the Wasatch Fault and the many other active faults in our region, so it stands to reason that we should all take into account the personal responsibility we have for our well- being and that of our neighbors in emergency situations.

It is advisable in any case to have a 72 hour stock of food, water, medical supplies, and other necessities at home. Also, know where gas and water shut- off valves are, be familiar with the “Duck, Cover, and Hold” method of protecting yourself, and understand University policy on earthquakes. It would also be helpful to take community and UVU classes on First Aid, CPR, and Emergency Response. The local chapter of the Red Cross offers many courses geared toward community effectiveness in disaster situations.

If a disaster occurs at UVU, an Emergency Response policy is in place. Appendix G is earthquake- specific. The plan details everything from continuity of leadership to coordination of medical activities and the protection of emergency equipment. The entire policy can be viewed online on the UVU Policy website.

This week, the state is slated to release a handbook on how to prepare for an earthquake. Many tips on how to prepare for and survive this potential natural disaster can also be found online at the sources listed below.


The Red Cross, Mountain Valley chapter:

Be Ready Utah:

Utah Disaster Center:

UVU Safety/ Emergency Plan:

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