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Stories From The Utah ShakeOut

Tabitha Marx

I didn't realize when I planned my anniversary trip that I would be away from my family, dogs, and house on the ShakeOut day. But earthquakes never take into account our plans, so at the 'same' time in Florida, I told my husband we were having a minute-long extreme earthquake drill. We were in the middle of packing to leave the hotel and we discussed where we would have went to be safe...not into the bathroom, which had giant mirrors, granite counter-tops and ceramic tiles everywhere, and not in the closet which had big mirror doors... the desk was a tiny thin piece of MDF/plywood that would not have held any protection for us (we were in a middle floor of 3 floors LaQuinta) We decided that all we could have done was get down between a plain inside wall and the bed and hoped for the best. The scariest thing was how would I have contacted my children back in Utah if landline and cellphones died? And since we were right next to the water, what if a local ocean earthquake had caused a tsunami...how would we have dealt with our rental car floating away, calling our families to let them know we were OK...not knowing the area, what would we have done for help, medical care, food and clean water, etc....We did have a flashlight and a few snacks with us and we had bought a flat of bottled water when we got off the plane (staying for 9 days) but it could have been scary getting back. This ShakeOut made me think of how we could be scattered across the country and need to plan for WHERE we may be at the moment. We are not all going to be sitting at home, on a warm sunny afternoon, when the quake hits. It could be a freezing sleeting winter night while we parents are off somewhere and the older teen kids are left home to fend for themselves and protect the younger children, pets and house. It can't just be ONE person who knows what to do in a crisis; ALL family members need to be taught how to cope with disasters, according to their maturity/age.




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©2014 SCEC Southern California Earthquake Center @ USC
Be Ready UtahThe Great Utah ShakeOut Step 1: Secure it now! Step 2: Make a plan Step 3: Make disaster kits Step 4: Is your place safe? Step 5: Drop, Cover, and Hold On Step 6: Check it out! Step 7: Communicate and recover!