Main Navigation

Statewide earthquake drill on April 20, 2023

The Great Utah ShakeOut earthquake drill will occur on April 20, 2023. Millions of Utahns will participate in this exercise at work, school or home, practicing earthquake safety and other aspects of their emergency plans. The University of Utah will once again participate in this exercise, with a few modifications.

Years ago, the U participated in the ShakeOut exercise in late April, but the feedback was the exercise wasn’t optimal for students, staff and faculty, who were at the end of an academic year and were holding final classes and preparing for exams. In 2016-2017 the main campus pivoted to hold fire drills and evacuation exercises in the summer semester, but still tested the Campus Alert System during ShakeOut encouraging participation in the “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” aspect of the earthquake drill. After many real-world incidents that tested the Campus Alert System, campus emergency management listened once again to campus feedback and discontinued those alerts during the final weeks of the semester. During the COVID-19 pandemic, there were plenty of occasions where the Campus Alert System was activated, thereby reducing the need for a semi-annual test. Now that COVID-19 operations have ceased, exercises to test our community resilience can resume.

Recognizing that late April is still not the best time to hold an earthquake drill, campus emergency management has again opted to design this year’s exercise so that it does not interrupt academics. Both U of U Health and main campus Emergency Management continue to work with teams across the health and campus to conduct a tabletop exercise to test the building assessment program. In the past year, over 200 individuals from U of U Health and main campus Facilities Management were trained in post-earthquake rapid damage assessment of buildings. Selected individuals from U of U Health and main campus will be invited to participate in a tabletop exercise in May to review and update response plans related to post-earthquake building safety assessments.

U of U Health will also participate in the April 20 Great Utah ShakeOut exercise by encouraging each unit and department across hospitals, clinics and health sciences to practice “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” and discuss how to apply the U of U Health Emergency Flip Chart instructions for earthquakes.

Individuals across campus are encouraged to practice “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” in their offices and their homes on April 20, ShakeOut day, and review what to do before, during and after an earthquake.