Almost a half a million Nevadans are registered to participate in the annual statewide public earthquake drill, the Great Nevada Shakeout, and with one month to go the Nevada Seismological Laboratory would like 100,000 more people registered by Oct. 18.
“We have schools participating from every county, including Clark, Washoe and several other entire school districts registered, plus the University of Nevada, Reno,” Graham Kent, director of the Seismological Lab, said. “That’s a lot of students. Now we’re focusing on getting their 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 Oct. 18 at 10:18 a.m. Last year almost 200,000 Nevadans participated. To register as an individual, business, school or government agency or organization, go to the official website www.shakeout.org/nevada. All Nevada residents are encouraged to register and participate.
“Nevadans need to realize they live in earthquake country,” Kent, state seismologist of Nevada 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 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 have people 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.
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 that building to prevent injury.
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.
For more information and to sign up for the Great Nevada ShakeOut, visit www.ShakeOut.org/nevada.