The science of earthquakes compares fault lines to rubber bands; as pressure builds along a fault, it is like slowly stretching a rubber band until it suddenly breaks. When Utah's infamous Wasatch Fault breaks, the entire state will feel it. In preparation for what scientists say is Utah's long overdue "big one," city, state and national government organizations—SUU among them—will join in a statewide earthquake drill on Thursday, April 17.
At 10:15 a.m. Thursday when alarms sound and emergency texts buzz, students, faculty and staff are encouraged to drop, cover and hold on, awaiting the all clear from SUU's Campus Notification System, as a way to brush up on proper earthquake protocol.
At SUU, The Utah Great Shakeout—a statewide initiative—will include practice for all emergency notification the campus would employ in an actual earthquake, run through the University Police and Risk Management Committee.
In addition to taking cover under desks and other hard, stable materials, SUU students and employees are encouraged to follow through with important emergency preparation:
To secure your space, identify hazards and secure all large moveable items, such as bookcases, furniture and cabinets. SUU Facilities is happy to accommodate work order requests to anchor such items identified as potential hazards within all offices on campus. Submit your work order at suu.edu/ad/facilities/work-orders.html.
Preparation is the key to success in an emergency situation. Determine now how you will communicate in an actual emergency, with the students and colleagues within your area as well as your loved ones off campus. Create a plan and organize disaster supplies in convenient locations.
Additional advance emergency preparations, with the goal of minimizing financial hardship, includes organizing important documents in a safe, accessible location, strengthening your property and considering insurance.
Improved safety after an earthquake includes evacuating, if necessary, helping the injured and identifying new hazards to prevent further injuries or damage.
After the immediate threat of an earthquake has passed, your level of preparedness will determine your quality of life in the weeks and months that follow. A sound emergency communication and repair plan will help you reconnect with your loved ones and restore your daily life, by repairing damage and rebuilding the community.
Though just a drill, The Great Utah Shakeout will likely save lives and most definitely save your peace-of-mind when the big one hits. The University Police and Risk Management committee want to ensure the safety of every one of our students, faculty and staff, and highly encourage everyone to participate in this week's earthquake drill.
More information on earthquake preparedness and the Great Utah Shakeout is available online at shakeout.org/utah. Additional information about the University's emergency preparedness is available through Mike Humes, life safety compliance supervisor at SUU: firstname.lastname@example.org.