Earthquakes are no stranger to Nevada.
Every year small earthquakes rattle the Silver State, striking at a time when residents least expect it.
During the past six years, earthquakes have rocked every corner of the state ranging from a series of small earthquakes near Walker Lake and Hawthorne to west of Reno near Mogul and the California state border to a power earthquake in February 2008 that struck Wells, a small community of about 1,200 residents located midway between Elko and Wendover.
It is no surprise, therefore, that earthquake preparedness is a must in Nevada, which ranks behind Alaska and California in the number of earthquakes recorded each year.
In fact, one of the strongest tremors during the past 50 years in Nevada occurred east of Fallon when a 7.2 magnitude earthquake shook near Fairview Peak.
Every year the county and city conduct an extensive earthquake drill as does Naval Air Station Fallon. In August, these three government agencies along with Banner Churchill Community Hospital, participate in earthquake drills to test the quick reaction from first responders.
This year on Thursday, more than a half million Nevadans have signed up to participate in the fourth annual Great Nevada ShakeOut on Thursday at 10:17 a.m. The Nevada Seismological Laboratory at the Unversity of Nevada, Reno, not only encourages participants to “drop, cover and hold on” but also to make a family plan.
“Households around Nevada are encouraged to find a neutral location, other than their home or local neighborhood, to meet after an earthquake or other natural catastrophe in the event that family members are separated and are unable to re-enter their neighborhood,” advises Graham Kent, director of the Nevada Seismological Laboratory and organizer of the Great Nevada ShakeOut.
While school children and employees at businesses participating in this great shake may look at Thursday’s drill as just that, Nevadans should also take an active role in their homes and workplaces to mitigate hazards and reduce the damage a potential earthquake could cause.
Although Churchill County is not as densely populated as Washoe or Clark counties, an earthquake registering more than 6.0 on the Richter Scale would cause widespread damage and may knock out some operations at Naval Air Station Fallon.
To sign up for Thursday’s drill, go to www.shakeout.org/nevada and follow the simple instructions. For guidance on personal and home preparedness, visit http://www.ready.gov/
Editorials written by the LVN Editorial Board appear on Wednesdays