SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — While Utah is no California when it comes to earthquakes, officials say 90% of Utah’s population lives in an active earthquake zone.

Every year Utah officials host The Great Utah ShakeOut, a day dedicated to refreshing Utahns’ earthquake safety skills. So far, 900,000 people have pledged to participate this year, which is 20,000 more than last year.

On Thursday, April 18, people at school, work, or home are going to perform earthquake drills and review emergency plans as part of what officials say is the largest earthquake drill.

The Wasatch Fault typically has a major earthquake every 350 to 400 years, according to an official video depicting what could happen in a major Utah earthquake. The video notes the last earthquake was more than 350 years ago.

This, coupled with the recent report from the U.S. Geological Survey saying the Wasatch Front has a greater than 50% chance of seeing powerful earthquakes over the next century, makes the ShakeOut event particularly relevant.

However, the ShakeOut website says many Utahns discount the earthquake threat because there has not been a major earthquake since the pioneers settled in the area in the mid-1800s.

“Comparing the average recurrence interval with the amount of time since the last large earthquake indicates that the next large earthquake is becoming increasingly likely on certain parts of the Wasatch fault,” the website reads.

For those wishing to participate, there are several resources on for all kinds of organizations, including businesses, schools, healthcare facilities, parks and libraries, and at home. Officials say those participating should register to be “counted in the largest-ever earthquake drill,” the website says.

Earthquake safety tips

The Utah ShakeOut site links out to several other organizations with tips to refresh your earthquake safety skills, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Earthquake County Alliance (ECA).

As simple as fire safety’s “stop, drop, and roll” mantra, in an earthquake, officials say to drop, cover, and hold on.

Dropping to your hands and knees protects you from falling or being hit by flying objects, according to ECA. Cover refers to covering your head and neck and seeking cover under a sturdy desk or table, or, if none are available, next to an interior wall. ECA officials say to remain bent over on your knees to protect your vital organs.

Finally, hold on. If you are under a desk or table, hold onto it and move with the shelter if necessary. If there is no shelter, hold onto your head and neck area with both arms, ECA says.

If you are unable to drop, cover, and hold on due to health issues, check out the ECA site for specific recommendations. For tips on how to prepare for an earthquake ahead of time, see here.