Campus joins Great Nevada ShakeOut Thursday

560,000 Nevada participants, including the University, will practice Drop, Cover and Hold-on earthquake response

Campus joins Great Nevada ShakeOut Thursday

560,000 Nevada participants, including the University, will practice Drop, Cover and Hold-on earthquake response

Whether in class, the residence halls, Joe Crowley Student Union, Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center, in an office or walking the grounds, students, faculty and staff are encouraged to "Drop, Cover and Hold On" during the fifth Great Nevada ShakeOut, a statewide earthquake drill taking place Thursday, Oct. 16 at 10:16 a.m.

The University's emergency notification channels will be activated both to test the system and alert the University community to the start of the drill.

"Our University community joins 560,000 Nevadans in this important public safety drill," Marc Johnson, University president, said. "With Nevada being the third most seismically active state in the nation, it's important that we be aware of earthquake preparedness and practice our response."

Graham Kent, director of the University's Nevada Seismological Lab and lead organizer of the Great Nevada ShakeOut, recommends that faculty members make an announcement in class about the drill and discuss the response or participate along with students. When the drill begins at 10:16 a.m., Oct. 16, participants should drop under desks or tables, 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:

"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."

"A variety of hazards may 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."

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.

If in a residence hall, 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 (especially brick or masonry buildings), trees, signs or other potential hazards. Further instructions on how to react in different locations can be found at

"The drill provides a great opportunity to review emergency procedures and look at how they can be updated," Kent said.

During the ShakeOut, University Police Services will activate the University emergency alert system. All students, faculty and staff registered for emergency alerts 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 campus computers.

An outdoor public-notification system with three public-address system 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 on the roofs of the Pennington Medical Education Building, Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center, and Ansari Business Building,

"They will be very loud," Kevin Schaller, emergency manager with University Police Services, said. "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 that originated in California. Nevada was the second state to participate in the earthquake drill. There are 25 million people nationwide who have registered to participate in this year's ShakeOut, making it the largest public earthquake drill in the world.

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