At 10:15 this morning tens of thousands of people participated in what is known as the great Utah ShakeOut: a statewide earthquake drill. Here on the University of Utah campus the drill started with a text message from the University Campus Alert system directing us to drop, cover, and hold on. Not long after that another text message alert arrived directing us to evacuate the building and head to our designated assembly point in a nearby parking lot.
The statewide drill is aimed at helping Utahns prepare for and learn what to do in the event of a devastating earthquake. The event also gives local government and public safety agencies the opportunity to put their emergency response plans to the test.
At the Taylorsville City Hall everyone from the Mayor to animal control services is involved in a full-scale emergency response drill. Mayor Jerry Rechtenbach says he believes that nothing prepares one better than an actual experience.
“Every time we do one of these we learn something else that we need to do a little better," he says. "It might be communication, it might be logistics, it might be, some of the things we’re talking about right now is how do we fund the emergency.”
The state estimates that more than 860,000 people participated in the ShakeOut.