Schools, government agencies and businesses across the Wasatch Front took part in the Great Utah ShakeOut on Thursday. The earthquake drill got a lot of people out of their offices and into the sunshine at the University of Utah.
Several hundred people assembled in a parking lot near the HPER P.E. building on the U of U campus after receiving a text message at 10:15. They were told at first to drop, cover and hold on as if a real earthquake was happening and then to evacuate the buildings where they work.
One of them was Alma Allred, the U’s Director of Commuter Services. In a real emergency, he says public safety agencies would give the university’s shuttle buses would be given a different role.
“If they need our shuttles, they take possession of them," Allred told KUER. "Our drivers continue driving, but they would run to hospitals or to evacuation points.”
Joe Dougherty with the Utah Division of Emergency Management says the ShakeOut drill was a hot topic on Twitter and other social media while it was underway. And he says text messaging to get in touch with loved ones is likely to be a better option than a phone call in a real emergency.