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City of Pocatello holds earthquake drill for employees

It’s always good to be prepared for all kinds of emergencies. On Thursday, that’s what the City of Pocatello tried to do with its “Great Shake Out” earthquake drill.

The city wanted to make sure its employees were prepared for an earthquake – and what to do if caught in one.

“The biggest thing is making sure you have a plan in place,” said Kim Stouse, community relations and education specialist with the Pocatello Fire Department. “Ideally, having a communication plan with your family, know ways to get ahold of them. It’s not a bad idea to have a 72-hour kit in case you get stranded at your home for an extended period of time.”

Once the shaking stops and it’s safe to do so, city employees are told to evacuate the building. Each department has a designated meeting spot outside. Once each person is safe and accounted for, the departments report to the mayor’s staff.

Lieutenant Ian Nelson, with Pocatello police helped organize the drill, and he said it was very efficient and the staff gets faster every year and know what they’re doing.

Some things to know if caught in an earthquake are: don’t try to leave a building until the shaking has stopped and its safe to do so, secure heavy items to the wall so thy don’t fall over on you, and know two ways out of rooms and building in your home or office.

Nelson said prepare for what could happen – not what you think will happen.

“Don’t assume that just because we live in Pocatello that nothing’s going to happen because we do live in an area where we’re earthquake prone,” Nelson said. “We’ve got fault lines close by that would affect us – and look at all the recent earthquakes in Soda Springs, with some of the aftershocks even being felt in parts of Pocatello. So it could definitely happen.”

What the City of Pocatello practices is what FEMA and the Dept. of Homeland Security say is the best thing to do: “Drop, Cover, and Hold On.”

-Drop onto your hands and knees so the earthquake doesn’t knock you down. This also allows you to crawl for additional cover if you are in danger from falling object.
-Cover your head and neck with your arms to protect from falling debris.
-Hold on to any sturdy covering so you can move with it until the shaking stops
-Once the shaking stops, if it’s safe to do so and there is a clear path to an exit, leave the building. Otherwise, wait until help arrives. Do not run outside during the earthquake.
-Do not stand under doorways. It does not provide protection from falling or flying objects, and you may not be able to remain standing.

More information can be found at

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