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October 17, 2012
By Mike Wolterbeek
The Great Nevada Shakeout, part of the world's largest public earthquake drill, is being spearheaded for the third year in a row by the College of Science's Nevada Seismological Laboratory, a statewide public service department.
"It's been growing every year, we're past the 500,000 mark for participants, with several government agencies, health care services and every public K-12 school district in the state," Graham Kent, director of the Seismological Lab and lead organizer of the Nevada drill, said.
The Great Nevada ShakeOut is a simple, coordinated "drop, cover and hold-on" exercise to be held on 10/18 at 10:18 a.m. The University - students, faculty and staff - is registered for the ShakeOut. All Nevada residents are encouraged to register and participate. Register as an individual, business, school or government agency or organization.
"The Great Nevada ShakeOut is a simple drill to help people be ready for an earthquake," Kent said. Every public school district in Nevada is participating, plus the University of Nevada, Reno and Truckee Meadows Community College. That's a lot of students. Now we're focusing on getting parents and their employers - whether private or government - to register and participate. Everyone in Nevada needs to have a plan and practice for an earthquake."
"Nevadans need to realize they live in earthquake country," Kent, Nevada state seismologist and professor in the College of Science, 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. We can't prevent an earthquake, so we have to be resilient, to be prepared so we can perhaps lessen the impacts on lives, emergency response and economic destruction that a major earthquake can cause."
Participants are instructed, wherever they are on 10/18 at 10:18 a.m. - at home, at work, at school, anywhere, unless they are 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 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 600,000 participating this year and continue to keep growing the event year after year."
Now in its third year, the Great Nevada ShakeOut serves as the annual statewide earthquake drill and is held on the third Thursday of October. In 2010, Nevada was the first state to join with California in this massive effort to encourage people to prepare and practice for earthquake response. Now there are 24 states and several countries, including participants in Japan, New Zealand, southern Italy, Canada and several other countries involved in the Great Shakeout, making this the largest public earthquake drill in the world.
This year, there are. There are 8.6 million participants in California, where the ShakeOut originated, and 53,000 in Alaska, which joined the ShakeOut this year.
The state of Nevada 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.
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 buildings to prevent injury.