Seismological Lab uses public drill to help prepare, educate residents about earthquakes

170,000 Nevadans registered for 2nd annual statewide event

10/6/2011 - By: Mike Wolterbeek
under desks at peavine Last year’s public earthquake drill, The Great Nevada Shakeout, included the Washoe County School District, and these students at Peavine Elementary School in Reno. The statewide earthquake drill, collaborated with California and other western states on Oct. 20 at 10:20 a.m., is a massive effort to have people learn to prepare and practice for earthquake response. Photo by Mike Wolterbeek, University of Nevada, Reno

All Nevada residents, businesses, schools and organizations are urged to register now to be part of the world’s largest public earthquake drill - “The Great ShakeOut.” The University of Nevada, Reno’s Seismology Laboratory is again teaming Nevada up with California and other western states to build awareness and get residents to practice how to respond in an earthquake.

The Great Nevada ShakeOut is a simple, coordinated “drop, cover and hold on” exercise to be held on Oct. 20 at 10:20 a.m. Last year 120,000 Nevadans participated, and this year there are 160,000 already signed up. More than 10 million people participated in the bi-state event last year. To register as an individual, business, school or government agency or organization, go to the official website ShakeOut.

“Nevadans need to realize they live in earthquake country,” Graham Kent, Nevada State Seismological Laboratory director and coordinator of the Nevada event, said. “Nevada has the third highest incidence of large earthquakes in the United States. A major earthquake in any community, north or south, is possible.”

Participants are instructed, wherever they are on 10/20 at 10:20 — at home, at work, at school, anywhere unless they’re driving — to drop, cover, and hold on as if there were a major earthquake occurring at that very moment, and to stay in that position for at least 60 seconds, which is about the time it takes to register for the earthquake drill.

“The beauty of this exercise is that it’s really easy,” Kent, a professor in the College of Science, said. “It’s an easy way for people to practice how to protect themselves during earthquakes. It’s an action that’s proven to help reduce injury and death during an earthquake. We’d like to see 500,000 participating this year and continue to keep growing the event each year.”

Now in its second year, the Great Nevada ShakeOut is the new annual Nevada earthquake drill and is always held on the third Thursday of October. Last year Nevada was the first state to join with California in this massive effort to have people learn to prepare and practice for earthquake response. Other states that have joined the Great Shakeout this year are Idaho, Oregon, British Columbia and Guam.

Participants are also encouraged to practice other aspects of emergency plans and to 'secure your space,' which includes retrofitting buildings to reduce damage and securing things within that building to prevent injury.

“With the recent large earthquakes occurring in the world in the past year, such as Tohuko and Christchurch, awareness is up and interest is high, making this an ideal time to impart important information to Nevada residents,” said Kent.

The state of Nevada is located in “earthquake country.” It lies within the Basin and Range Province, one of the most seismically active regions in the United States. Along with California and Alaska, Nevada ranks in the top three states subject to the most large-scale earthquakes over the last 150 years.

More information and to sign up for the Great Nevada ShakeOut.


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