"Great Shakeout" Prepares Nevadans for The Big One - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

'Great Shakeout' Prepares Nevadans for The Big One

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John Potter

Channel 2 News

For the kids at Sierra Vista Elementary School in Reno, it was a dramatic exercise. We watched as one class of 2nd grade students dived under their desks to a threatening "BEEP BEEP BEEP" noise from the fire alarm. Then…the quiet, for almost a minute...the life span of an earthquake. Watching over the lesson was Graham Kent, the director of UNR's Nevada Seismological Laboratory. He said the sizeable quakes produce "moderate shaking for up to a minute, so we want to get them used to the fact that these large earthquakes are very long duration events."

The old "duck and cover" is pretty much unchanged from when you went to school. But the reason behind it has changed. In the 50's and 60's it was about the threat of war. But as we find out more about just how probable an earthquake is to northern Nevada, it's about earthquakes. Graham says thanks to new technology, they're finding faults in Nevada they didn't know about decades ago. Nevada Seismological Laboratory grad student Annie Kell told us, "Based on history, there could be one any second. There could be one in any moment of any day."

It's enough for us to be called "earthquake country." There was the swarm in 2008, and what a wake up call that was. The Mogul swarm cracked homes in Somersett, and wrecked a wine store in Caughlin Ranch. Then some quakes in northwest Reno that had folks taking down their pictures, and not re-hanging them for over a month. But the last magnitude 7 earthquake in Nevada (the size that hit Haiti) was 57 years ago. The average is every 27. You can only avoid it so long.

Graham Kent told us, "We know it's coming back and that's why we're involved in getting people ready. Because we know, like all streaks they end." When will it really rock and roll for us again? They're getting a better idea. Graham says "We're probably going to have a large earthquake in the western part of the state in the next decade."

As for duck and cover, some call that old school. There's the "triangle of life", which says look for protection, like against a strong table where the heaviest debris would fall, to create a pocket of safety. Graham doesn't buy it. "It requires probably a structural engineering degree to figure out the best place to run. You don't have time to figure out where the building will collapse...where the pocket is."

Back in class, 7-year old Benjamin Leon really wants to know what to do, after seeing the pictures brought in of floors covered in fallen bricks. "I thought, what if one of those fell on me and my baby sister?"

If you want to make sure you're ready, there's a new website with everything you need to know to prepare for a major quakes. Just click this link: www.shakeout.org/nevada

For specific preparation and survival tips, click here: http://bit.ly/13Bn1I

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