By Stuart Moffatt, associate director, University of Utah Emergency Management
What is ShakeOut?
The Great Utah ShakeOut is a statewide earthquake preparedness drill that will happen in communities all over Utah on April 21, 2016, at 10:15 a.m. Each year the university participates in this drill to learn how to better prepare for disaster.
What will the drill consist of this year?
As in past years, we will test the University Campus Alert system and practice the Drop, Cover, and Hold On protective action, but we will not be conducting a full-scale evacuation in April 2016.
Why the change?
We’ve listened to you in our post-event surveys and have made a few important observations:
First, we hear from you that this is an important event, but it is difficult for many to participate in the evacuation because in that week we are in the home stretch of the academic year and preparing for graduation. Despite the intended brevity of the exercise, the evacuation can still be disruptive in the final week of classes.
Second, while research has shown that taking immediate protective action in an earthquake is the best way to survive, many of us haven’t actually practiced Drop, Cover, and Hold On for various reasons. Our focus this year is to educate and encourage as many people as possible to actually get under a desk or a chair, or drop and cover even if you are outside or off-campus. It is critical that you build “muscle-memory” so you have the proper reflex in the case of an actual earthquake. It can save your life.
Is there anything else different for this year’s exercise?
Yes. In past years we have always had a post-drill survey to measure how we did. This year we are adding a pre-drill survey that will address some areas we want to improve on from previous exercises.
Of course, we value your time, so we are offering a drawing for a $200 gift certificate to the University Campus Store. The survey will be live on Monday, March 7, 2016, at em.utah.edu/so2016pre.
Isn’t an evacuation drill important?
Absolutely! We don’t want to lose the momentum we’ve built over the past four years so we are moving our full-scale evacuation exercise from the spring 2016 semester to a date to be announced in the fall 2016 semester.
Is ShakeOut different if I am part of the Health Science campus?
Because of the patient care aspect of your studies or work, the hospital and health sciences emergency management team have been careful to construct an exercise that works best for you. If you are a staff member or student within the Health Science campus involved in health care, research or medical academics then consult pulse.utah.edu/site/em for instructions on your ShakeOut participation.
I’ve heard about a mobile app for campus emergencies. What is it?
U Heads Up! is a mobile app for safety, response and emergency notifications. It contains quick reference guides for our emergency plans in both Health Sciences and on main campus.
In the past there two separate apps, but personnel from Health Sciences Emergency Management and Campus Emergency Management have teamed up this past year to provide a single app to streamline our emergency outreach.
How do I get U Heads Up! and use it?
First, download the app for iOS or Android from utah.edu/headsup. Once it is installed, you then add “plans” from within the app. A plan is a collection of instructions for how to respond in any type of emergency.
Current plans include: the University Emergency Response Guide that is the digital equivalent of our emergency response guide flipcharts hanging in offices around campus; a reporting tool called “See Something/Say Something” to tell us about your safety concerns; and a “Campus Alert for Visitors” plan that receives push notifications from our Campus Alert system so visitors or community members can get alerts even if they don’t have a University Network ID. (Note: you must have the Campus Alert for Visitors plan if you want U Heads Up! to receive Campus Alert push notifications.)
Downloadable plans for Hospitals and Clinics/Health Sciences are being migrated from the old app to the newly updated U Heads Up! app. Watch Pulse for more information regarding the migration.
Can other groups at the university add emergency plans or operating procedures?
Yes. The new platform allows other groups and business units on campus to publish their own public or private (password protected) emergency operating procedures and host them on this platform. This is a great way to share information regarding your building, department or college ERT (emergency response team).
If you are interested in adding your own plans to U Heads Up! please contact Stuart Moffatt at 801-581-6429.