Campus to participate in Great Nevada ShakeOut Thursday

550,000 Nevada participants, including the University of Nevada, Reno, will practice for an earthquake

10/15/2013 - By: Patrick Harris
Workers installing PSA System The new Public Announcement System will be used at the University for the Great Nevada ShakeOut drill on Thursday, Oct. 17. Photo courtesy of Debbie Penrod.

Students, faculty and staff will "Drop, Cover and Hold On," during the fourth Great Nevada ShakeOut, a statewide earthquake drill taking place Thursday, Oct. 17 at 10:17 a.m.

The international program, organized in Nevada by the Nevada Seismological Laboratory of the University of Nevada, Reno, is an annual practice session for earthquakes. The drill fosters preparation and safety during natural disasters. All students and faculty at the University of Nevada, Reno, have already been registered. Whether in class, the residence halls or walking the grounds, everyone is encouraged to participate.

"The drill provides a great opportunity to review emergency procedures and look at how they can be updated," Grant Kent, director of the Seismological Lab and lead organizer of the Nevada drill, said. "Students and faculty should participate and be aware of how to react when an earthquake strikes."

Kent also recommends that professors make an announcement in class about the drill and participate along with students. When the drill begins at 10:17 a.m., Oct. 17, students should drop under their desks, cover their head and neck, and hold on to their shelter. If no shelter is available, participants should huddle against a wall. Demonstrations of the "Drop, Cover and Hold On" technique are available at the Great Nevada ShakeOut website: http://www.shakeout.org/nevada/dropcoverholdon/.

"It's easy," Kent said. "People can easily practice how to protect themselves during an earthquake with the safest course of action. These practices have been proven by federal, state and local emergency management experts to reduce injury and death."

During this time, students should also survey their surroundings and see what dangers they may encounter in the event of a real earthquake. This can include furniture, ceiling fixtures or any falling hazards.

"A variety of hazards exist in student dormitories, too," Chuck Clement, associate director of Residential Life, Housing, and Food Services, said. "During the drill, pay attention to what could fall over or be harmful to you."

If in a dormitory, students should identify a sturdy shelter, such as a table, and take cover underneath. Lying in bed and covering the head with a pillow is also considered safe. If outside, participants should move to a clear area away from buildings, trees, signs or other potential hazards. Further instructions on how to react in different locations can be found at http://shakeout.org/nevada/colleges/.

During the ShakeOut, University Police Services will activate the University emergency alert system. All registered students, faculty and staff will receive a text message and email about the earthquake drill and what to do. Notifications will also be posted on the department's Facebook and Twitter pages and the Police Services' AM radio station (AM1670). A scrolling banner will appear on public campus computers.

A new outdoor public notification system with three speakers set up on campus will announce the commencement of the drill and then produce a loud, audible siren alert, which will last for 60 seconds. Speakers for the system are situated on the roofs of the Pennington Medical Education Building, the Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center, and the Ansari Business Building,

"The ShakeOut is a great time to test the public notification systems," Ed Atwell, Emergency Management Coordinator with University Police Services, said. "They will be very loud. Everyone on campus will be aware that the drill is taking place."

The campus drill will not involve any simulated earthquakes, building/road closures or power outages.

The Great Nevada ShakeOut is a statewide program in collaboration with the international Great ShakeOut program. There are 15.6 million people nationwide and 23.8 million worldwide who have registered to participate in the ShakeOut, making this the largest public earthquake drill in the world.


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