By Kelly Werthmann


DENVER (CBS4)– On Thursday, Colorado will take part in the annual “Great ShakeOut” earthquake drills. The global event is aimed at teaching people how to survive and recover from a large-scale earthquake.

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California started the program years ago, where earthquake drills are certainly more common. But in Colorado, taking cover for a quake isn’t often practiced even though earthquakes happen more than people may realize.

Great ShakeOut Drill earthquake

(credit: CBS)

“You may not be aware, but over the last month we’ve had, I believe, five small earthquakes,” Rob Jackson, Co-chair of the Colorado Earthquake Hazard Mitigation Council, said.

usgs earthquakes in colorado

(credit: USGS)

Jackson is also a structural engineer. He showed CBS4’s Kelly Werthmann a map of the state’s active faults and the likelihood of a powerful quake.

Rob Jackson Great ShakeOut Drill earthquake

Rob Jackson (credit: CBS)

“There’s reason to believe that could be at least a 7 magnitude earthquake if it were to occur,” he said, pointing to the area of the Sangre de Cristo fault.

While most earthquakes are not often felt in Colorado, Jackson said many people likely do not know what to do if the ground were to really start moving.

Great ShakeOut Drill earthquake

(credit: CBS)

“It’s relatively easy to do, for one thing,” he said. “And people travel. We could be subject to earthquakes in other parts of the country. It’s pretty important that they’re ready to act in their own best interest if we have an earthquake.”

That’s where the Great ShakeOut moves in, teaching people to “drop, cover, and hold on.” As of Wednesday, nearly 13,000 people in Colorado are registered to take part in the shakeout. However, it is Jackson’s hope more Coloradans will join in to learn an important skill.

Rob Jackson Great ShakeOut Drill earthquake

CBS4’s Kelly Werthmann interviews Rob Jackson (credit: CBS)

“We don’t have earthquake season like we have wildfire season, we have our winter storms, we have flooding,” he explained. “These things we can somewhat prepare for, but earthquakes? No. It’s well worth the time to do [the drill].”

Great ShakeOut Drill earthquake

(credit: CBS)

The “Great ShakeOut” is set for Thursday, October 17 at 10:17 a.m.

LINK: Great ShakeOut

Kelly Werthmann

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