New 2008 Handbook for Earthquakes in Utah

Because of the recent devastating 6.3 magnitude earthquake in L’Aquila, Italy which left 250 people dead, I thought I would share today about earthquakes. As of yesterday, 50,000 people are without shelter and many are sleeping in tent cities or their cars. Researchers say that Utah is long overdue for a major earthquake. Some of you may have noticed the new 2008 Handbook for Earthquakes in Utah in your April 5th Sunday newspaper. If not click the link above and read or download it.

According to the brochure, poorly constructed and older homes in Utah that have not been bolted to their foundations or retrofitted are most vulnerable. The Salt Lake Tabernacle and the State Capitol recently had seismic upgrades. Some buildings in Italy are much older than those in Utah, and researchers do not expect as much damage in Utah. However, some of the older buildings in Italy stood, while some buildings constructed after 1980 did not, teaching us that we must all be prepared.

Few households in Utah have disaster plans, or disaster kits. “Geologic evidence shows that movement on the Wasatch fault and other faults in Utah can cause earthquakes of magnitude 6.5 to 7.5, with potentially catastrophic effects,” pg. 2. “Nearly 80 percent of Utah’s population lives within 15 miles of the Wasatch fault,” pg. 14. “Many people think that all injuries in earthquakes are caused by collapsing buildings. Actually, most injuries in quakes are from objects that break or fall on people,” p. 22. The brochure will teach you how to stabilize items in your home.

The Wasatch fault is divided into segments. FEMA’s estimation model suggests that ground shaking from a magnitude 7 or higher will cause major losses in these segments of which some are listed below. Key: DH = displaced households, LTIF = life threatening injuries and fatalities

Brigham City segment – 14,000 DH; 500 LTIF
Weber segment (Davis/Ogden County areas) – 57,000 DH; 3,000 LTIF
Salt Lake City segment – 150,000 DH; 9,000 LTIF
Provo segment (Utah County area) -48,000 DH; 3,000 LTIF
Nephi segment – 4,000; 200 LTIF

Watch the Wasatch Fault flyby video to understand where the Wasatch fault is.

Can You Live Without The Services You Rely On?
• Water may be in short supply.
• Natural gas and electric power may be out for days or weeks.
• Garbage and sewage services may be interrupted.
• Telephone, Internet, cell phone, and wireless communications may be overloaded or unavailable.
• Mail service may be disrupted or delayed.
• Gasoline may be in short supply, and rationing may be necessary.
• Bank operations may be disrupted, limiting access to cash, ATMs, or online banking.
• Grocery, drug, and other retail stores may be closed or unable to restock shelves.

Focusing on gathering a 3-month supply of food and emergency supplies can help following a major earthquake. Earthquakes cannot be prevented, but you can better prepare for them so that you can help your family and others.

If you live in another state or country, look up your government website for earthquake information in your area.

2 thoughts

  1. Excellent earthquake preparedness information. If the dams were to break up Provo Canyon, folks in the Provo area in a building lower than four floors would be a bad place and would have limited time to get higher ground. The Provo Hospital does routine drills to have all the patients moved to the top floor. Recently I posted about earthquakes on my preparedness blog, as well

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