WSU fair to help families prep for quake

Apr 5 2012 - 11:29pm

Images

On Thursday, Sara Yearsley (left) and Amanda Gentry prepare 72-hour kits for the emergency-preparedness fair to be held Saturday at Weber State University. (NICHOLAS DRANEY/Standard-Examiner)
On Thursday, Amanda Gentry (left) and Sara Yearsley demonstrate the landslide simulation game for the emergency-preparedness fair set for Saturday at Weber State in Ogden. (NICHOLAS DRANEY/Standard-Examiner)
On Thursday, Amanda Gentry and Sara Yearsley prepare giveaways for the emergency-preparedness fair set for  Saturday at Weber State University. (NICHOLAS DRANEY/Standard-Examiner)
Adolph Yonkee, WSU geosciences department chairman and faculty member, will speak tonight.
Geosciences instructor Michael Hernandez will speak tonight about the Wasatch Fault.
On Thursday, Sara Yearsley (left) and Amanda Gentry prepare 72-hour kits for the emergency-preparedness fair to be held Saturday at Weber State University. (NICHOLAS DRANEY/Standard-Examiner)
On Thursday, Amanda Gentry (left) and Sara Yearsley demonstrate the landslide simulation game for the emergency-preparedness fair set for Saturday at Weber State in Ogden. (NICHOLAS DRANEY/Standard-Examiner)
On Thursday, Amanda Gentry and Sara Yearsley prepare giveaways for the emergency-preparedness fair set for  Saturday at Weber State University. (NICHOLAS DRANEY/Standard-Examiner)
Adolph Yonkee, WSU geosciences department chairman and faculty member, will speak tonight.
Geosciences instructor Michael Hernandez will speak tonight about the Wasatch Fault.

OGDEN -- Eight hundred plastic Easter eggs aren't destined for Sunday baskets.

No, the colorful eggs have Saturday duty, teaching the importance of earthquake preparedness to kids who attend Weber State's "ShakeUp: Drop, Cover, Hold On" event.

"Kids will build structures on a shake table and will see if they built structures that can withstand the shaking and keep the eggs on top," said Sara Yearsley, who heads a group of Weber student volunteers from Sigma Gamma Epsilon, a national honor society to recognize scholarship in the earth sciences.

The event will feature additional children's games, information booths and hands-on demonstrations.

Speakers will talk about what could happen during and after an earthquake, and Weber County plans (at noon); earthquake hazards and family preparedness (at 1 p.m.); and historical earthquakes on the Wasatch Front and the dangers we face (at 2:30 p.m.).

Handouts will provide information on the emergency supplies that should be kept at home and in cars.

But the serious education begins tonight with a talk geared for adults and older children.

Adolph Yonkee, WSU geosciences department chairman and faculty member, and geosciences instructor Michael Hernandez will speak about the Wasatch Fault.

"Earthquakes are something we live with here," Hernandez said. "We have earthquakes in the state every day, but most are so small we don't feel them. But the likelihood of a big one is pretty high, so people need to prepare."

The Wasatch Fault has five sections: Brigham City, Weber, Salt Lake City, Provo and Nephi.

In the next 50 years, there's a 25 percent chance of a major earthquake in one section or more. A quake centered in any section would create ground shaking, or worse, in all sections, Yonkee said.

"The likely effects would be landslides and rocks falling near the mountains, liquefaction further out and ground shaking everywhere," he said.

The term liquefaction describes how a solid, such as soil, behaves like a liquid. Liquefaction can cause structures built on top of the soil to sink unevenly, to fall over or to crack and crumble.

In addition, earth movement in or under Great Salt Lake could cause flooding, Yonkee said.

But the biggest challenge in the hours following the initial quake would be damage to lifelines, he said.

"Things like transportation, communication, water and sewer, and power -- all those things we take for granted."

Downed power lines or trees, building debris or large gaps in roads could isolate individuals or families and keep them from getting food or clean water, or from seeking medical care for serious injuries.

Broken gas and downed electrical lines are likely to spark fires, but broken waterlines may hinder or prevent firefighting.

Saturday's fair sponsors, including the American Red Cross, Homeland Security-Be Ready Utah, and the Weber County Sheriff's Office, will provide information on how to prepare for an earthquake and what items to collect that would be helpful in the event one occurs.

Hernandez also suggests buying earthquake insurance.

"I have it," he said. "If we have a major earthquake, I want to be able to come back from it."

Learn more

The Weber State College of Science will present a talk on earthquakes and Wasatch Front geology at 7 tonight in Room 125 of Lind Lecture Hall. The science talk is geared for adults and older children.

From noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, Weber State will sponsor "ShakeUp: Drop, Cover, Hold On," a family-friendly earthquake-preparedness fair. The first 400 families will get a mini earthquake kit with a small flashlight, bandages, a poncho and bottled water. The free Saturday fair also is at Lind Lecture Hall, with information stations scattered throughout the building.

Click here for more information.

Lind Lecture Hall is at the northeast corner of the WSU campus, at 1550 Edvalson St.

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