Register now for “Great Nevada ShakeOut” public earthquake drill

This year’s public earthquake drill organized by the Nevada Seismological Laboratory, The Great Nevada ShakeOut, will include all public school districts in Nevada, several government agencies, businesses and health care institutions. Students at Sierra Vista Elementary School in Reno are shown here in last year’s ShakeOut. Photo by Mike Wolterbeek, University of Nevada, Reno.

The largest Great Nevada Shakeout in its three-year history, and part of the world’s largest public earthquake drill with 18 million participants globally, is Thursday, Oct. 18 at 10:18 a.m.

More than a half a million Nevadans are registered to participate in the annual statewide public earthquake drill, and with just a few days to go the Nevada Seismological Laboratory would like 100,000 more people registered.

A series of 115 earthquakes in the past week under Spanish Springs is a good reminder that Nevada is a seismically active state and residents should be prepared and practice earthquake readiness – and be ready to “Drop, Cover and Hold-On” in an earthquake.

“The Great Nevada ShakeOut is a simple drill to help people be ready for an earthquake,” Graham Kent, director of the Seismological Lab and lead organizer of the Nevada drill, said. “Every public school district in Nevada is participating, plus the University of Nevada, Reno and Truckee Meadows Community College. That’s a lot of students. Now we’re focusing on getting parents and their employers – whether private or government – to register and participate. Everyone in Nevada needs to have a plan and practice for an earthquake.”

The Great Nevada ShakeOut is a simple, coordinated “drop, cover and hold-on” exercise to be held on 10/18 at 10:18 a.m. To register as an individual, business, school or government agency or organization, go to www.shakeout.org/nevada. All Nevada residents are encouraged to register and participate.

“Nevadans need to realize they live in earthquake country,” Kent, Nevada state seismologist and professor in the College of Science, said. “Nevada has the third highest incidence of large earthquakes in the United States. A major earthquake in any community, north or south, is possible. We can’t prevent an earthquake, so we have to be resilient, to be prepared so we can perhaps lessen the impacts on lives, emergency response and economic destruction that a major earthquake can cause.”

Participants are instructed, wherever they are on 10/18 at 10:18 a.m. — at home, at work, at school, anywhere, unless they are driving — to drop, cover, and hold-on, as if there were a major earthquake occurring at that very moment, and to stay in that position for at least 60 seconds, which is about the time it takes to register for the earthquake drill.

“The beauty of this exercise is that it’s really easy,” Kent said. “It’s an easy way for people to practice how to protect themselves during earthquakes. It’s an action that’s proven to help reduce injury and death during an earthquake. We’d like to see 600,000 participating this year and continue to keep growing the event year after year.”

Now in its third year, the Great Nevada ShakeOut serves as the annual statewide earthquake drill and is held on the third Thursday of October. In 2010, Nevada was the first state to join with California in this massive effort to encourage people to prepare and practice for earthquake response. Now there are 15 states involved in the Great Shakeout, making this the largest public earthquake drill in the world.

This year, there are participants in Japan, New Zealand, southern Italy, Canada and several other countries. There are 8.6 million participants in California, where the ShakeOut originated, and 53,000 in Alaska, which joined the ShakeOut this year.

The state of Nevada lies within the Basin and Range Province, one of the most seismically active regions in the United States. Along with California and Alaska, Nevada ranks in the top three states subject to the most large-scale earthquakes over the last 150 years.

Participants are also encouraged to practice other aspects of emergency plans and to “secure your space,” which includes retrofitting buildings to reduce damage and securing things within buildings to prevent injury.

For more information and to sign up for the Great Nevada ShakeOut, visit www.ShakeOut.org/nevada.

 

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