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Drop, cover and hold on: Utah’s largest earthquake drill set for Tuesday

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About 900,000 Utahns will take part in the state’s largest earthquake drill Tuesday, April 17, 2012, dubbed the Great Shake Out. The drill is aimed to increase preparedness for a serious threat. According to the Utah Seismic Safety Commission, 90 percent of the state’s population lives in earthquake zones.

By elizabeth neff

The Salt Lake Tribune

First published Apr 16 2012 01:02PM
Updated Apr 17, 2012 05:25PM

Some 900,000 Utahns are preparing to take part in the state’s largest earthquake drill Tuesday morning, dubbed the Great Shake Out.

Schools, businesses, hospitals and government agencies are participating in the mock quake, slated to begin at 10:15 a.m., on a voluntary basis.

The drill is aimed to increase preparedness for a serious threat. According to the Utah Seismic Safety Commission, 90 percent of the state’s population lives in earthquake zones. A seismic belt about 100 miles wide extends north to south along the Wasatch Front and through Richfield to Cedar City and St. George, according to the commission.

If a magnitude 7.5 quake were to occur in the Salt Lake City area, the commission predicts there would be some 7,600 deaths and $18 billion in physical damage, loss of jobs and economic activity.

The Great Shake Out website details strategies to stay safe during and after an earthquake. As a general guideline, the Shake Out encourages people who are indoors to drop to the ground, take cover by getting under a sturdy desk or table, and hold on to it until the shaking stops.

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