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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Utah chapter.

On Wednesday, March 3rd, an earthquake hit Salt Lake City. Its epicenter was in Magna, but its effects were felt miles away. This experience was terrifying for many, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 quarantine. The University was quick to send out an alert, telling students to “Drop, Cover and Hold On. Prep for Aftershocks.” These instructions, though correct, are a little vague. Here are the best tips and tricks to make it safely through an earthquake. 

Arthur\'s Seat in Edinburgh, Scotland
Laura Cavalenes

Stay where you are.

Often our first instinct in an emergency is to run outside. Don’t do this, as you are likely to be injured from broken glass and falling debris. You are safer just staying put. Running around your house is more likely to injure you than staying put.

DON’T go into a doorway.

The myth that doorways are the strongest part of a house comes from anecdotal evidence from a house that fell, leaving only one doorway. In actuality, doorways are no safer than any other part of the house.

DO crouch by a table. 

If there a table nearby, take cover next to it. Tables can protect you from falling debris. HOWEVER, if there is not a table nearby, don’t run to the kitchen or office to find a table.

Crouch by the table, don’t crawl under it. If the table collapses it could crush you, but crouching near it will protect you from most debris. If you are in bed, roll-off, and crouch near it. Don’t crawl under it. 

DO cover your head and neck.

If you are in bed, cover your head and neck with your pillow. Anywhere else, crouch down and cover your head and neck with your hands. 

DO steer clear of windows and stairs.

Taking cover by a window can be dangerous as it is liable to break and cut you with glass shards. Stairs can cut you if they collapse or if the ceiling falls on top of them, and they’re also a falling hazard when the ground is shaking.  

DO avoid the kitchen

Kitchens are dangerous as they contain many things that could fall on you. Steer clear!

If you’re driving:

Pull to the side of the road, away from overpasses, bridges, trees,  and other hazards. Set your parking brake and stay in the car. Wait until the shaking stops, then watch for road debris and cracks. 

Things seem very scary right now, but we’ve survived worse. This may be our generation’s 9/11, but we will come out of these trying times stronger. Stay safe out there!


Information Sources: 1, 2  

Hello! I am a junior studying Peace & Conflict Studies and Strategic Communication at the University of Utah. I am also minoring in Political Science. I am passionate about advocacy, education, and Star Trek!
Her Campus Utah Chapter Contributor