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
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
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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.
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.