A large earthquake occurs on the central segments of the Wasatch fault on average every 350 years. This means there is a 25% chance of having a 7.00-7.5 earthquake within the next 100 years.
How to Prepare for an Earthquake
- Store a minimum of 72 hours worth of food and water. Organize a 72 hour kit.
- Secure fixtures such as lights, cabinets, bookcases, and top heavy objects to resist moving, coming loose, or falling during the shaking. Place heavy objects on lower shelves and securely fasten shelves to walls.
- Hang heavy pictures and mirrors away from beds. Store bottled goods, glass, vases, china, and other breakables in low or closed cabinets and use non-skid padded matting, hold-fast putty, or velcro whenever possible.
- Bolt down or provide strong support for water heaters and other appliances.
- Consider earthquake insurance.
- Check the electrical wiring and connections to gas appliances. Defective electrical wiring, leaking gas, or inflexible connections are very dangerous in the event of an earthquake.
- Develop a family plan which addresses what to do if the earthquake occurs while family members are at home, school, or work. This plan should include a possible central meeting location for family members after the earthquake, and an out-of-area contact person so other family members can find out information concerning their loved ones. (It is usually easier to call out of a disaster area then to call into one.)
- Locate master switch and shut-off valves for all utilities. Teach all responsible family members how to turn them off.
What to do during an Earthquake
- Stay calm. Having a plan will help you remain calm.
- Stay put. Whether inside or out, STAY THERE.
- Take Cover. If indoors, take cover under a desk, table, or bench, stand in a supported doorway, or along an inside wall or corner. Stay away from windows, bookcases, china cabinets, mirrors, and fireplaces until the shaking stops. If no protection is available, drop to the floor and cover your head with your hands. Never try to restrain a pet during the shaking. If outside, stand away from buildings, trees, and telephone and electric lines. If in an office building, stay next to a pillar or support column, or under a heavy table or desk. If in a crowded public place, never run for the door - a lot of people will try to do that.
- If in a car, pull over to the side of the road as quickly as possible and stop. Never stop on top of or underneath a bridge or under power lines. Stay in your car until the earthquake is over. When you drive on, watch for hazards created by the earthquake such as fallen objects, downed electrical lines, or broken roadways.
- Do not use elevators. Realize the electricity may go out and alarm and sprinkler systems may turn on.
- If you are trapped in an area: Use a flashlight if you have one - don’t use matches or lighters in case of gas leaks. Try to stay still so you won’t kick up dust. Cover your mouth with a piece of clothing. Tap on a pipe or wall so rescuers can hear you - shout only as a last resort.
What to do After an Earthquake
- Check for injuries. Provide first aid.
- Check for safety - gas, water, sewage breaks; check for downed electrical lines; turn off interrupted utilities as necessary; check for building damage and potential safety problems during aftershocks such as cracks around chimney and foundation; check for fires.
- Clean up dangerous spills.
- Wear shoes.
- Tune radio to an emergency station (610 am KVNU) and listen for instructions from public safety agencies.
- Report damages or needs to your neighborhood coordinator.
- Do not touch downed power lines or broken appliances.