Public invited to register for October 20 earthquake drill

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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - More than 540,000 Nevadans are already registered to participate in the annual statewide public earthquake drill, according to the University of Nevada, Reno. But the university's hope is to add 100,000 to that number for the Great Nevada Shakeout.

"Nevadans need to realize they live in earthquake country,” Graham Kent, director of the Nevada Seismological Lab, said. “Nevada has the third highest incidence of large earthquakes in the United States. A major earthquake in any community, north or south, is possible. We can’t prevent an earthquake, so we have to be resilient, to be prepared so we can perhaps lessen the impacts on lives and economic destruction that a major earthquake can cause.”

The Great Nevada ShakeOut is a simple, coordinated “drop, cover and hold on” exercise to be held Octorber 20, 2016 at 10:20 a.m. In 2015, more than 560,000 Nevadans participated. To register as an individual, business, school or government agency or organization, go to the official website. All Nevada residents are encouraged to register and participate.

“We have schools participating from all parts of Nevada, mostly entire school districts, plus the University of Nevada, Reno,” Kent said. “That’s a lot of students. Now we’re focusing on getting their parents and their employers – whether private or government – to register and participate. Everyone in Nevada needs to have a plan and practice for an earthquake.”

Participants of the drill are instructed to drop, cover, and hold on at 10:20 a.m. on Oct. 20 as if there were a major earthquake occurring at that very moment, and to stay in that position for at least 60 seconds – which is about the time it takes to register for the earthquake drill.

“The beauty of this exercise is that it’s really easy,” Kent said. “It’s an easy way for people to practice how to protect themselves during earthquakes. It’s an action that’s proven to help reduce injury and death during an earthquake. We’d like to keep growing the event year after year.”

Participants are also encouraged to practice other aspects of emergency plans and to “secure your space,” which includes retrofitting buildings to reduce damage and securing things within that building to prevent injury.

The State of Nevada lies within the Basin and Range Province, one of the most seismically active regions in the United States. Along with California and Alaska, Nevada ranks in the top three states subject to the most large-scale earthquakes during the last 150 years.