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After quake practice, it's time to improve

By Joe Dougherty

For the Deseret News

Published: Sunday, April 22 2012 5:18 p.m. MDT

Jenifer Perdomo Mejia, left, and Stratton Rogers, students in Danielle Wilson's kindergarten class, participate in an earthquake drill at Vista Elementary in Taylorsville, Tuesday, April 17, 2012. This was part of the Great Utah ShakeOut.

Ravell Call, Ravell Call, Deseret News

Editor's note: This article is part of a series on earthquake preparation. Read the rest of the articles here.

The Great Utah ShakeOut may be over for this year, but as its organizers, we hope your personal preparedness isn’t. If you haven’t heard yet, more than 941,000 people registered to participate. More than 33 percent of the state did an earthquake drill this past week, giving Utah the highest participating percentage of any ShakeOut yet.

Thousands of people, hundreds of businesses and many government agencies are beginning to make plans to improve themselves to be the best we can be when disaster strikes. Eventually, we’ll invite everyone to do this again to test the new plans we create.

If you participated, you can still share your stories, pictures and videos at ShakeOut.org/Utah.

The goal, to help people prepare, continues, and that’s why the Deseret News and Utah Disaster Kleenup came together to produce a Classroom Connections piece about what to do after an earthquake. The guide was distributed in the April 17 Deseret News.

Recovering from an earthquake will take all of us: law enforcement, firefighters, emergency management, volunteer organizations and neighbors helping neighbors.

Here are some more things you can be aware of:

Earthquake insurance

Your personal recovery for a damaged home will depend on what you do now. Consider adding earthquake insurance to your homeowner’s insurance policy. My family recently shopped around and found a policy with Farmer’s Insurance, which offers a 5 percent deductible. After seeing how the 1994 Northridge earthquake easily damaged my parents’ home to the tune of $40,000 and how earthquake insurance paid for $38,000 of those costs, it’s easy for me to shell out a few hundred extra dollars a year to know my home can be repaired.

Currently, only about 14 percent of Utah homeowners have earthquake insurance.

Going to a shelter

Care for large numbers of people displaced during a disaster will take place in shelters set up by relief organizations, such as the American Red Cross. If your family needs to stay in a shelter, plan to take the following items with you:

  • Personal disaster supply kits.
  • Water, food and snacks.
  • Blankets, pillows and a change of clothing.
  • Toothbrush, diapers and baby supplies.
  • Personal identification and items for comfort.
  • Games and toys for children.

What you do now will help you and your loved ones recover. More information is always available at BeReadyUtah.gov.

Blue Med Tent Drill, Ogden Regional

A tour of the "Blue Med" tent erected at Ogden Regional Medical Center for disaster drill as part of the Utah Great ShakeOut on April 19. This tent would be used as a mobile hospital during an actual disaster.

Joe Dougherty is a preparedness expert and the spokesman for the Utah Division of Emergency Management and Be Ready Utah. Send your preparedness tips to jdougherty@utah.gov. Daily preparedness tips available at twitter.com/bereadyutah.

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