Weber State University aimed to shake the local community awake with the Weber State Shake Up earthquake preparedness fair on Saturday.
The fair was inspired last June after a number of parents attending one of WSU’s Science Saturday’s, an Ott Planetarium event that offers summer activities for families, asked questions regarding what should be done in an emergency situation. It was organized by members of the WSU Department of Geosciences and the WSU chapter of Sigma Gamma Epsilon, which is a national Earth science honor society. It followed a lecture the night before on the topic of earthquake preparedness. The two day event was a kind of extension of the mission of Be Ready Utah, the official emergency preparedness campaign for the State of Utah.
“Be Ready Utah is trying to get all of Utah prepared for an emergency,” Nadine Taylor, an education outreach specialist with Be Ready Utah explained at the fair. “And right now, we’re focusing on earthquakes.”
Taylor manned a booth at the fair for Be Ready Utah and handed out information on the April 17 Shake Out, a state-wide earthquake drill which has over 900,000 participants signed up, including WSU faculty and staff.
Although Weber State Shake Up was technically separate from Be Ready Utah and the organization did not oversee the planning or execution of the event, one of the events coordinator’s Sara Yearsley showed gratitude for the assistance they had received from Be Ready.
“We were completely supported by them,” said Yearsley, a WSU student and president of Sigma Gamma Epsilon. “They gave us a lot of things to give to people; they’ve given us stuff for the games; they’ve given us speakers and donations.”
Yearsley also wanted to give credit to the other two organizers of Saturday’s event, Amanda Gentry and Cassie Grether, without whom she said the event could not have been put together.
The fair took place in Lind Lecture Hall, which was filled with booths from various organizations including the American Red Cross, Questar and Be Ready Utah, which is run by the Department of Homeland Security, CERT and the Ogden City Fire Department. It included seminars, speakers, hands-on demonstrations and prizes for various games and activities. There were many WSU students who volunteered and attended the event. There were also many families from the surrounding community that came to participate. Many of the booths also offered information on how to prepare for an emergency and preparedness kits that could be utilized during an earthquake or other natural disaster.
Julie Taylor, a botany and geology major at WSU, helped out at one of the booths by handing out preparedness kits to the first 400 participants. Taylor talked about why she chose to help volunteer with the fair.
“I don’t know if a lot of people know that we live in a seismic area, or they become complacent and they’re like, ‘Oh it’s never gonna happen,’ but we’re due,” Taylor said. “They need to be prepared for the worst.”