LOGAN — Standing in a doorway during an earthquake is out. Now, the best advice is Drop, Cover and Hold-on as the Utah Department of Public Safety (DPS) and Be Ready Utah are hosting the 2024 Great Utah Shake-Out this Thursday. 

This is a statewide earthquake drill and we know it’s fitting for the area of the country we live in. There are fault lines in Cache Valley, there was a moderate 5-point-9 quake just over 60 years ago that caused over a million dollars in damage, much of it in Richmond. 

1962 Cache Valley Quake

Some of the damage seen in Richmond in 1962 after 5.9 earthquake. Courtesy earthquakes.utah.gov/#recent

So, it’s not a matter of if but when there will be another sizeable quake.

On KVNU’s For the People program on Monday, DPS Public Information Officer Wade Mathews said their goal is to have one million participants in the Shake-Out, and they’re very close to achieving that.

“That’s right. We are at officially 902,035 participants, 201,000 of those are coming from Northern Utah. So, Box Elder, Cache, Davis, Morgan, Rich and Weber counties,” Mathews explained.

Those interested in participating can register and get more information at Shakeout.org/Utah. Mathews said because of the sudden nature of earthquakes, we just don’t know where we’ll be when it strikes.

“If we look back to the Magna earthquake, March 18th, 2020, it happened at 7:09 a.m., so many of us were home or commuting, and not in the office yet,” Mathews added. “We could be anywhere when it happens, and we could be separated from our families, which is probably a big concern there, where we’ll be in relation to the rest of our family members and how can we be reunited with them after an earthquake.”

When you register, you are sent a packet of information on how to prepare for the drill. Mathews said during a quake the key is ‘Drop, Cover and Hold On.”

“What does that mean? It’s a simple phrase, but it means a little bit different things in different situations,” Mathews explained. “In an earthquake, you don’t run into or out of a building. You have to just stay put where you’re at. If the ground is shaking really violently, you’re not going to be able to move very well or even stand up maybe.

“So you just have to drop, cover and hold on wherever you are right here, right now. If you’ve got a desk, table or chair nearby that you can just crawl under and grab on to the legs and hold onto the legs until the shaking stops, because that keeps that cover overhead, then that’s the best option.”

Mathews said the long-time advise to stand in a doorway during a quake is not taught anymore as the door might be swinging back and forth and might knock you out of the doorway and smash fingers.  

BeReady.Utah.gov has more comprehensive information on how to prepare for a wide array of disasters.

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