Nevadans on Thursday are encouraged to drop, cover and hold on as part of the Great Nevada ShakeOut, a statewide earthquake safety drill. The event, also scheduled internationally, is Oct. 20 and 10:20 a.m.
Nevada is at higher risk for earthquakes than many other parts of the country – it’s one of the most seismically active states in the nation. According to the Southern California Earthquake Center, Nevada has seen 76 earthquakes with “potentially destructive magnitudes” – that’s a 5.5 on the Richter scale or higher – since the 1850s.
A 5.9 magnitude earthquake that struck southwest of Smith Valley in July 2021 was felt in Reno and forced the evacuation of City Hall.
Smaller quakes aren’t uncommon either. During a five-month stretch in 2008 a series of earthquakes west of Reno near Mogul had residents strapping their TVs down and taking heavy objects off of walls.
Local public safety officials say planning ahead and knowing what to do can keep you safe during an unexpected rumble. The University Police Department is one of many Nevada agencies participating in this week’s drill.
“Earthquake drills help to promote awareness and safety,” said University Police Services Assistant Director, Arnold Vasquez. “During an earthquake, you might have only seconds to protect yourself. Practice helps you be ready to respond.”
More than 590,000 participants have already registered for this week’s ShakeOut.
The ShakeOut website offers a number of drill manuals and planning documents to help schools, government agencies, hospitals and workplaces manage their own earthquake drills.
University Police officials shared this advice in staying safe during an earthquake:
- If you are inside a building, drop to the ground, take cover under a sturdy desk or table or crawl against an interior wall and protect your head, then hold on until the shaking stops. Stay indoors until you are sure it is safe to exit.
- If you are outdoors, find a clear area away from buildings, trees, light poles, and power lines, then drop, cover, and hold on.
- If you are driving, pull over to a clear location, stop, and stay there with your seatbelt fastened. Once the shaking stops proceed with caution and avoid any bridges or ramps which may have been damaged.
They also suggest downloading a public safety app just in case you need assistance in the event of a real earthquake.
Read more about the Great Nevada ShakeOut at https://www.shakeout.org/nevada/index.html/