Utah Earthquake Preparedness

How to Plan and React to an Earthquake in the Wasatch

Living in Park City, earthquakes are not always top of mind. However, since 1931 there have been 2,779 earthquake incidents in Utah, with an average of 33 earthquake incidents per year. In fact, the largest earthquake in Utah registered a 6.0, which is a fairly major incident. Additionally, studies show that there is a one in two chance of a major earthquake along the Wasatch fault in the next 50 years.

As with any potential for disaster, the Park City Fire District recommends that all residents prepare a plan for the possibility of an earthquake in our area. While we are well trained and ready for such an incident, the more prepared and educated our residents, the better the chances we keep our community safe.

Preparing for an Earthquake

While we can’t predict when an earthquake will occur, we do know that it’s quite likely one will occur within the next few decades, if not tomorrow. Preparing for this unpredictable incident can save your property and, more importantly, your family. Be sure to:

  • Secure your water heater, storage shelves, heavy mirrors and shelves, etc. to walls
  • Place heavy objects which can cause major damage on lower shelves
  • Know where and how to shut off your utilities (water, electric, gas) quickly and efficiently
  • Practice with your family—know where the most secure place is in each room of your home
  • Have an out-of-state contact person and make sure every member of your family knows their number
  • Plan a meeting place for your family
  • Always have a flashlight and a good pair of shoes near your bed
  • Be prepared at all times to survive for 72 hours after an event

During an Earthquake

  • Remember to stay calm
  • If you are indoors find protection in a stable doorway, under a desk or table, in a bathtub, and always away from windows, glass, brick walls, and chimneys
  • If you are outside, get away from tall buildings, trees, and telephone poles/electric lines as quickly as possibly
  • If you are driving, drive away from collapsible structures such as overpasses and stop in a safe area, still in your vehicle
  • Stay where you are, in the safest place, until the shaking has stopped completely

After an Earthquake

  • Check yourself and others for injuries and provide first aid if necessary
  • Check for fires and any gas, water, or sewage breaks, downed lines, building damage, or other potential problems
  • Tune the nearest radio to an emergency station and listen for instructions from public safety officials
  • Notify loved ones of your condition as soon as possible
  • Do not turn light switches off an on (this can cause a spark) or use open flames until you are sure there are no gas leaks
  • Follow evacuation procedures in public buildings
  • Meet your family at your designated meeting place or find the nearest emergency shelter

The Great Utah Shakeout

Every year, The Great Utah Shakeout facilitates a one-day, statewide practice drill for earthquake preparedness. Visit The Great Utah Shakeout for more information. Don’t forget to practice!