Utahns prepare for ‘the big one’ in Great Shakeout earthquake drills

SALT LAKE CITY - We live along an active fault line here in Utah.

Many scientists predict it’s a matter of when, not if we have a large earthquake.

Utah emergency responders prepare for that possibility and ensure we are prepared as well, with the "Great Shakeout."

The annual event started in 2012.

Over the past six years, more than 920,000 Utahns have registered at shakeout.org/utah.

More than 6.5 million people have participated in disaster drills like the one Thursday at Shriners Hospital for Children.

These involve government, church and various first responder agencies along with schools.

This year‘s event has a particular emphasis on how Utah’s medical and first responder communities will coordinate and work together in the event of a large earthquake.

Organizers tried to make the exercise as realistic as possible because, in the event of a real earthquake, doctors and nurses could be in the middle of medical procedures so people, along with sensitive medical equipment, will have to be moved in an orderly fashion at a moment's notice.

Things were so realistic that the staff Shriners actually set up a quiet room, or safe room, where folks could go if they started feeling a little overwhelmed by this drill.

Officials say that’s not necessarily a bad thing because if and when a real event happens, people are going to have to be working in very stressful conditions.