OGDEN -- At 10:15 a.m. April 17, residents of the Top of Utah are being asked to "Drop, Cover and Hold On."
Those three moves could end up saving your life during an earthquake, experts say, so instead of being caught off guard, everyone is being asked to participate in the first annual Great Utah ShakeOut drill.
That means at 10:15 a.m., you should stop whatever you are doing and drop to the ground, get under a desk or table and hold onto it for at least one minute.
"Studies have shown that the safest thing to do during an earthquake is to drop, cover and hold on," said Joe Dougherty, spokesman for the Utah Division of Emergency Management.
"Most people are killed or injured by objects flying across the room rather than a collapsed building. If you're under a table or another piece of sturdy furniture, it will take the brunt of that force."
Utah has approximately 800 earthquakes each year, Dougherty said, and it's just a matter of time before a major one hits. That's why the division is holding a three-day earthquake preparedness drill across the state.
"This is the first time Utah has done this. Every year, the schools participate in an earthquake drill, but we have never invited the entire state to drop, cover and hold on at the same exact moment," he said. "Everyone needs to take a step to be a little more prepared."
So far nearly 830,000 people have signed up to participate. Although not required, by signing up on the organization's website, you can be officially counted and will receive periodic updates and drill manuals.
"There are a lot of different organizations participating those three days," Dougherty said. "School districts, hospitals, businesses, the National Guard. In fact, we want people to be aware of the exercises going on so they don't panic when they see buildings being evacuated and emergency vehicles out more than usual."
The state Capitol and every building at the University of Utah will participate in an evacuation drill. In addition, Ogden Regional Medical Center will practice emergency care in a Blue Med portable hospital tent in its parking lot.
"The state owns several tents, and they are placed throughout the state for medical surge," said Karlene Marshall, a registered nurse and Ogden Regional Medical Center emergency preparedness coordinator. "The Blue Med tents come with everything to start a triage hospital and shelter for patients."
The tents are self-sufficient, with generators, cots, bedding and medical supplies, and can be built up to what is needed, even surgery, Marshall said.
"The scenario for the ShakeOut is to see if they can be deployed and set up in a timely manner and to have the use of the EMS strike team to get them to where they are needed," she said.
"The Utah Department of Health has asked Ogden Regional to play in the scenario to have the tent brought to us."
What to do
DROP: Drop down to your hands and knees. This position protects you from falling but allows you to move if necessary
COVER: Cover your head, neck and entire body, if possible, under a sturdy table or desk. If there is no shelter nearby, only then should you get down near an interior wall and cover your head and neck with your arms and hands.
HOLD ON: Hold onto the table or desk until the shaking stops. Be prepared to move with your shelter if the shaking shifts around.
To register, go to www.ShakeOut.org/utah/register.