This week marks the beginning of the 5th annual nationwide ‘Shakeout,’ during which people are encouraged to prepare for disaster in the event of an earthquake. The event began in California in 2008, and was immediately relevant since Californians experience earthquakes almost as often as rainfall. This event is not so relevant in Arizona, but certainly should be as the state experiences hundreds of earthquakes annually.

The lack of awareness for those living in Arizona leads to a helpless population if and when a significant earthquake occurs, requiring house damage, construction and cleanup. Shakeout is a two week long awareness event that begins on October 18th this year, and  participation is encouraged in both homes, offices and especially schools. As of today, over 50,000 have registered in the state of Arizona, with a whopping 35,000 of those participating as part of schools. The largest areas involvement are those that have been affected in the past by earthquakes, most notably the city and county of Yuma. But it is important for other areas to be involved as well, because earthquakes can and will hit anywhere in the state.

One would think that Phoenix would provide a significant percent of involvement, given that Maricopa County is the most populated in the state, but only 1% have signed up for participation in the Great Arizona Shake Out. Similarly, in the college town of Tucson and another heavily populated county of Pima, a small percentage of participants have registered to date. As concern grows, as will exposure and the popularity of the Shake Out, but for now at least 50,000 Arizona residents will be involved and prepared.