Earthquake Preparedness in Utah

Why is earthquake preparedness important in Utah?

Utah has experienced damaging earthquakes in the past and geologic evidence indicates that earthquakes larger than any experienced locally in historical time are likely in the future.

We must prepare for earthquakes because:

  • Utah is a seismically active region
  • A majority of Utah’s population is concentrated in the areas of greatest hazard
  • Many of Utah’s older buildings and lifelines have low earthquake resistance

Utah’s Earthquake Preparedness Guide

This guide explains what to do before, during and after and earthquake with all the latest information about Utah’s earthquake threat.

Earthquake Preparedness Information

Other Links of Interest

Being Prepared for an Earthquake

While California has been the state most prone to serious earthquakes in recent years, there are many other fault zones in other areas of the United States. For example, geologists and seismologists have predicted a 97 percent chance of a major earthquake in the New Madrid seismic zone of the central United States (including Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, and Kentucky) between now and the year 2035. While earthquakes with the power of the one that hit the greater Los Angeles area in January 1994 are fairly rare, less severe earthquakes can interrupt your normal living patterns and cause substantial injury.

During a major earthquake, you may hear a roaring or rumbling sound that gradually grows louder. You may feel a rolling sensation that starts out gently and, within a second or two, grows violent.

OR . . .

You may first be jarred by a violent jolt. A second or two later, you may feel shaking and find it difficult to stand up or move from one room to another.

The real key to surviving an earthquake and reducing your risk of injury lies in planning, preparing, and practicing what you and your family will do if it happens.

Practice Drills

By planning and practicing what to do if an earthquake strikes, you and your family can learn to react correctly and automatically when the shaking begins. During an earthquake, most deaths and injuries are caused by collapsing building materials and heavy falling objects, such as bookcases, cabinets, and heating units. Learn the safe spots in each room of your home. If you have children, get the entire family to practice going to these locations. Participating in an earthquake drill will help children understand what to do in case you are not with them during an earthquake.

Make sure you and your child also understand the school’s emergency procedures for disasters. This will help you coordinate where, when, and how to reunite with your child after an earthquake.

During your earthquake drill:

  • DROP down onto your hands and knees before the earthquake would knock you down. This position protects you from falling but still allows you to move if necessary.
  • COVER your head and neck (and your entire body if possible) under the shelter of a sturdy table or desk. If there is no shelter nearby, get down near an interior wall or next to low-lying furniture that won’t fall on you, and cover your head and neck with your arms and hands. Try to stay clear of windows or glass that could shatter or objects that could fall on you.
  • HOLD ON to your shelter (or to your head and neck) until the shaking stops. Be prepared to move with your shelter if the shaking shifts it around.

Evacuation Plans

If an earthquake occurs, you may need to evacuate a damaged area afterward. By planning and practicing for evacuation, you will be better prepared to respond appropriately and efficiently to signs of danger or to directions by civil authorities.

  • Take a few minutes with your family to discuss a home evacuation plan. Sketch a floor plan of your home; walk through each room and discuss evacuation details.
  • Plan a second way to exit from each room or area, if possible. If you need special equipment, such as a rope ladder, mark where it is located.
  • Mark where your emergency food, water, first aid kits, and fire extinguishers are located.
  • Mark where the utility switches or valves are located so that they can be turned off, if possible.
  • Indicate the location of your family’s emergency outdoor meeting place.

Establish Priorities

Take time before an earthquake strikes to write an emergency priority list, including:

  • important items to be hand-carried by you
  • other items, in order of importance to you and your family
  • items to be removed by car or truck if one is available
  • things to do if time permits, such as locking doors and windows, turning off the utilities, etc.

Write Down Important Information

Make a list of important information and put it in a secure location. Include on your list:

  • important telephone numbers, such as police, fire, paramedics, and medical centers
  • the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of your insurance agents, including policy types and numbers
  • the telephone numbers of the electric, gas, and water companies
  • the names and telephone numbers of neighbors
  • the name and telephone number of your landlord or property manager
  • important medical information, such as allergies, regular medications, etc.
  • the vehicle identification number, year, model, and license number of your automobile, boat, RV, etc.
  • your bank’s or credit union’s telephone number, account types, and numbers
  • radio and television broadcast stations to tune to for emergency broadcast information

Gather Emergency Supplies

Stock up now on emergency supplies that can be used after an earthquake. These supplies should include a first aid kit, survival kits for the home, automobile, and workplace, and emergency water and food. Store enough supplies to last at least 3 days.

Evacuation Plans

If an earthquake occurs, you may need to evacuate a damaged area afterward. By planning and practicing for evacuation, you will be better prepared to respond appropriately and efficiently to signs of danger or to directions by civil authorities.

  • Take a few minutes with your family to discuss a home evacuation plan. Sketch a floor plan of your home; walk through each room and discuss evacuation details.
  • Plan a second way to exit from each room or area, if possible. If you need special equipment, such as a rope ladder, mark where it is located.
  • Mark where your emergency food, water, first aid kits, and fire extinguishers are located.
  • Mark where the utility switches or valves are located so that they can be turned off, if possible.
  • Indicate the location of your family’s emergency outdoor meeting place.

Establish Priorities

Take time before an earthquake strikes to write an emergency priority list, including:

  • important items to be hand-carried by you
  • other items, in order of importance to you and your family
  • items to be removed by car or truck if one is available
  • things to do if time permits, such as locking doors and windows, turning off the utilities, etc.

Write Down Important Information

Make a list of important information and put it in a secure location. Include on your list:

  • important telephone numbers, such as police, fire, paramedics, and medical centers
  • the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of your insurance agents, including policy types and numbers
  • the telephone numbers of the electric, gas, and water companies
  • the names and telephone numbers of neighbors
  • the name and telephone number of your landlord or property manager
  • important medical information, such as allergies, regular medications, etc.
  • the vehicle identification number, year, model, and license number of your automobile, boat, RV, etc.
  • your bank’s or credit union’s telephone number, account types, and numbers
  • radio and television broadcast stations to tune to for emergency broadcast information

Gather and Store Important Documents in a Fire-Proof Safe

  • Birth certificates
  • Ownership certificates (automobiles, boats, etc.)
  • Social Security cards
  • Insurance policies
  • Wills
  • Household inventory, including:
    • list of contents
    • photographs of contents of every room
    • photographs of items of high value, such as jewelry, paintings, collectors’ item

Earthquakes

One of the most frightening and destructive phenomena of nature is a severe earthquake and its terrible aftereffects. An earthquake is the sudden, rapid shaking of the earth, caused by the breaking and shifting of subterranean rock as it releases strain that has accumulated over a long time.

For hundreds of millions of years, the forces of plate tectonics have shaped the earth, as the huge plates that form the earth’s surface slowly move over, under and past each other. Sometimes, the movement is gradual. At other times, the plates are locked together, unable to release accumulated energy. When the accumulated energy grows strong enough, the plates break free. If the earthquake occurs in a populated area, it may cause many deaths and injuries and extensive property damage.

All 50 states and 5 U.S. territories are at some risk for earthquakes. Earthquakes can happen at any time of the year.

The 2011 East Coast earthquake illustrated the fact that it is impossible to predict when or where an earthquake will occur, so it is important that you and your family are prepared ahead of time.

Learn more.

Flood Water Health Precautions

Every effort should be made to limit contact with flood water due to potentially elevated levels of contamination associated with raw sewage and other hazardous substances.

EPA and the Department of Health and Human Services urge everyone in contact with flood waters to follow these guidelines:

  • Wash your hands before drinking and eating
  • Wash frequently using soap — especially disinfecting soap
  • Do not smoke
  • Limit direct contact with contaminated flood water
  • Report cuts or open wounds and limit exposure
  • Report all symptoms
  • Keep vaccinations current

EPA and HHS recognize that Hurricane Katrina has caused extraordinary circumstances and that people may not currently have access to clean water, vaccinations, doctors, or disinfecting soap. EPA and HHS encourage people in these extraordinary circumstances to adhere to the above guidelines as closely as is possible to limit exposure to possible water contaminants.

The public and emergency response personnel should follow guidelines from federal, state and local health and safety professionals. Early symptoms from exposure to contaminated flood water may include upset stomach, intestinal problems, headache and other flu-like discomfort. Anyone experiencing these and any other problems should immediately seek medical attention.

General precautions to reduce contact with contaminated flood include routine washing with soap, and not eating or drinking while in contact with flood water. These precautions can significantly help reduce potential exposure and illness. Anyone with open-wounds or pre-existing conditions should seek immediate consultation to prevent possible illness.

EPA and HHS will continue to provide more information to the public and responders as it becomes available. Again, the general public and responders should limit exposure to flood water and seek medical attention if they develop symptoms.

Source: http://www.epa.gov/Katrina/precautions.html

Flood Preparedness

Floods are one of the most common hazards in the United States. Flood effects can be local, impacting a neighborhood or community, or very large, affecting entire river basins and multiple states.

However, all floods are not alike. Some floods develop slowly, sometimes over a period of days. But flash floods can develop quickly, sometimes in just a few minutes and without any visible signs of rain. Flash floods often have a dangerous wall of roaring water that carries rocks, mud, and other debris and can sweep away most things in its path. Overland flooding occurs outside a defined river or stream, such as when a levee is breached, but still can be destructive. Flooding can also occur when a dam breaks, producing effects similar to flash floods.

Be aware of flood hazards no matter where you live, but especially if you live in a low-lying area, near water or downstream from a dam. Even very small streams, gullies, creeks, culverts, dry streambeds, or low-lying ground that appear harmless in dry weather can flood. Every state is at risk from this hazard.

Information for Families

Information for Farmers

Information for Homeowners and Renters

Source: http://www.nd.gov/des/get/flood-preparedness/

How to Prepare for a Flood

Before a flood

  1. Find out if you are in a flood prone area
    • FEMA Flood Hazard Maps: Information on locating Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM), understand how to read them, and requesting a map change.
  2. Update flood procedures for your family, farm or business (every year)
    • Make sure everyone knows the emergency phone numbers, and when to call them.
    • Learn the safest route from your home or business to high ground.
    • Make arrangements for housing in the event you need to evacuate your home.
    • Establish meeting places and phone numbers in case family members are separated by rising flood waters.
    • Teach all family members how and when to turn off gas, electricity and water lines.
  3. Register to receive information from various information sources
  4. Talk to neighbors and share information on preparedness and previous experiences
  5. Consider using sand and sandbags to prevent flood damages
  6. Minimize flood damage
    • Store valuables at higher elevations (second story, if possible).
    • Store household chemicals above flood levels.
    • Ensure that underground storage tanks are fully sealed and secure.
    • Close storm shutters and sandbag doorways.
    • Have check valves installed in building sewer traps to prevent flood waters from backing up in sewer drains.
    • Move vehicles and RVs to higher ground.
  7. Keep emergency supplies on hand: Disaster Supply Kit (FEMA)
    • Portable radio, emergency cooking equipment, flashlights, fresh batteries, non-perishable food and drinking water, essential medicines and a first-aid kit.
  8. Consider purchasing a NOAA Weather Radio
  9. Take care of chemical products before flood season.
  10. Keep street drains, storm grates and flap gates free of leaves and other debris.
  11. Consider buying flood insurance to protect your property. Homeowners’ insurance does not cover flood loss, but most homeowners’ insurance agents also sell flood insurance. Anyone can get flood insurance, even if you are located in an area not mapped as a floodplain, or even if you have never been flooded before. Learn More: FloodSmart.gov

During a flood

  1. Keep a battery-powered radio tuned to a local station. Follow all emergency instructions.
  2. If you are caught in your building by rapidly rising waters, call 911 for help. Then move to a higher floor or to the roof. Take warm, weatherproof clothing, a flashlight, a cell phone and a portable radio.
  3. Do not walk or wade in flooded areas.
  4. Be prepared to evacuate. If advised to evacuate, do so immediately. Evacuation is much simpler and safer before flood waters become too deep for ordinary vehicles to drive through.
  5. If you evacuate by car, do not drive where water is over the road or past barricaded road signs.
  6. If your car stalls in a flooded area, abandon it as soon as possible and walk to safety in the direction you came from.
  7. Follow recommended evacuation routes, as shortcuts may be blocked.
  8. When flooding is imminent, but only if time permits:
    • Close the main gas valve.
    • Turn off all utilities in your building at the main power switch. Do not touch any electrical equipment unless it is in a dry area or you are standing on a piece of dry wood while wearing rubber-soled shoes and rubber gloves.
    • Record flood statistics such as time, gage reading, and local flood elevations for use in future home flood forecasting.

After a flood

  1. Before re-entering your home, check for structural damage that could cause the building to collapse. Be cautious of potential gas leaks, electrical shorts and live wires.
  2. When re-entering a building, use flashlights, rather than lanterns or candles (in case of gas leaks).
  3. Have a professional check your heating system, electrical panel, outlets and appliances for safety before using. Call the gas company to have them turn the gas back on.
  4. Follow disaster preparedness procedures when cleaning a house after a flood.
  5. Document your losses. Photograph damages and record repair costs.
  6. Contact your insurance agent for flood loss claims.
  7. Remove and empty sandbags. Do not dump sand into the river or on its banks. Store it for future use.
  8. Apply for financial assistance. Only available following a federal disaster declaration. Listen to the radio or television for updates on disaster assistance and registration procedures.

Source: http://www.kingcounty.gov/environment/waterandland/flooding/prepare.aspx

Hurricane Preparedness Tips

The following tips are republished from a press release issued by the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) on July 6, 2007. For more information about this press release or about MEMA please contact Peter Judge at 508-820-2002.

What Families Need To Do To Prepare For The Hurricane Season

Framingham, MA – As we enter the 2006 Hurricane Season, which experts are predicting to be very active, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is offering personal preparedness tips for the all of the citizens of the Commonwealth.

“Every home and business should have a basic supply kit that could be used for any emergency,” states MEMA Acting Director Ken McBride. “Everyone should keep certain items around the house in the event of a hurricane or other severe weather. A portable radio, flashlight, extra batteries, and extra non-perishable food and water are all essential to help your family weather the storm.”

Every household should have a supply of canned goods and other non-perishable foods that do not need cooking, along with bottled water, extra prescription medication, and extra food and supplies for infants and pets. A manual can opener and a basic first aid kit are also essential.

“Every family should develop a ‘Family Communication Plan’ to help ensure everyone is safe. You should call your local authorities learn about potential evacuation routes and the location of emergency shelters in your community,” said McBride. “It is important to familiarize yourself with your Community’s Emergency Plans before an emergency situation occurs.”

The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is the state agency responsible for coordinating federal, state, local, voluntary and private resources during emergencies and disasters in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. MEMA provides leadership to: develop plans for effective response to all hazards, disasters or threats; train emergency personnel to protect the public; provide information to the citizenry; and assist individuals, families, businesses and communities to mitigate against, prepare for, and respond to and recover from emergencies, both natural and man made. For additional information about MEMA and Hurricane Preparedness Month, go to www.mass.gov/mema.

Hurricane Disaster Supply Kit

  • Canned goods and nonperishable foods that do not need cooking:
    • Canned meats and fish
    • Canned fruits and vegetables
    • Canned soups and puddings
    • Canned fruit juices
    • Dried fruit and nuts
    • Bread, cookies and crackers
    • Peanut butter and jelly
    • Coffee and tea
    • Bottled water
  • Manual can opener
  • Bottled water (1 gallon per person/per day)
  • Prescription medication (2 week supply)
  • Pet food/supplies
  • Water purification tablets (halazone)
  • Disposable plates, cups, and utensils
  • Infant care items:
    • Disposable diapers
    • Baby wipes
    • Baby food
    • Formula
  • First aid supplies
  • Masking and duct tape
  • Flashlight or lantern, with extra batteries
  • Battery operated radio, with extra batteries
  • Watch or battery operated clock
  • Ice chest
  • Matches
  • Canned heat (sterno)
  • Portable outdoor camping stove or grill with fuel supply
  • Plastic trash bags
  • Plastic sheeting or drop cloth
  • Chlorinated bleach
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Other useful items:
    • Work gloves
    • Sun lotion
    • Insect repellent
    • Hammer
    • Screwdriver
    • Pliers
    • Wrenches
    • Handsaw
    • Razor knife
    • Ax or chainsaw
    • Rope caulking
    • Nails and screws
    • Rope and wire
    • Broom, mop and bucket
    • All-purpose cleaner
    • Ladder
    • Sandbags
    • Portable generator
    • Tree pruner
    • Shovel, rake and wheelbarrow
    • Sheets of plywood

Family Communication Plan

Develop a ‘Family Emergency Communication Plan’ in case family members are separated from one another during an emergency (a real possibility during the day when adults are at work or traveling and children are at school, camp or a friend’s home). You can then develop a have a plan for safely getting back together. This will help assure everyone that all family members are safe.

  • Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as the ‘family contact’. After a disaster, it is often easier to call long distance than locally.
  • Make sure everyone knows the name, address and telephone number of the contact person.

Source: http://emergency.tufts.edu/weather/hurricane-preparedness-tips/

Confined spaces: deadly spaces

This video is designed for municipal workers and illustrates the basic rules for working in confined spaces. Oxygen deficiency and other potential dangers are covered. In addition, the health effects and physical characteristics of toxic gases including carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulphide, and methane are examined.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HA6yh0TB5ag

Zebra Striped Crosswalks at Oil Sands Site

Stripes aren’t just for zebras at Oil Sands…

In the wild, a zebra uses its stripes to help keep it out of harm’s way. People at Oil Sands can do the same thing!

Zebra-striped crosswalks are strategically placed everywhere throughout Oil Sands.

Drivers, especially those in large trucks and buses, are trained to expect pedestrians at a crosswalk. Even when no vehicles are present, using the crosswalk keeps you in the habit. It’s simple and it saves lives.

Don’t be shy! Let another employee know when he or she fails to use the crosswalk.

Let’s keep the herd safe!

View PDF.