The Utah Division of Emergency Management has taken to social media to reassure people rattled by Wednesday’s magnitude 5.7 earthquake — and all the aftershocks.
If you’re experiencing sleeplessness, nervousness, lack of focus, feeling “phantom” earthquakes or asking “endless” questions, then, yes, you may have anxiety, according to the division’s Twitter account and Facebook page.
“You need to know this is completely normal,” the division tweeted. “If it’s your loved one or friend, please be kind and caring. Please listen to them. Stay open. Be patient. Anxiety can’t be forced away. It doesn’t have a set timeline.”
And the division offered a series of facts to try to “ease earthquake anxiety”:
• The state experienced more than 2,300 earthquakes in 2019, but most were so small no one felt them. Most of the aftershocks from Wednesday’s quake haven’t been felt (although many felt a magnitude 3.1 at 8:12 a.m. on Monday morning and a magnitude 3.94 Sunday night). So Utahns “have survived more earthquakes than you can possibly imagine.”
• While the aftershocks are expected to continue for “days or weeks,” that is “completely normal and does not mean a stronger or larger earthquake is coming.”
• Wednesday’s Magna quake resulted in some damage and no deaths or injuries. “We got through it with a memorable wake-up call.”
• The aftershocks will “subside and become less frequent” and “anxiety will begin to fade.”
The Utah Division of Emergency Management tweeted that it had polled Utahns and 65% said they’d feel less anxious about earthquakes if they took action to prepare. “Simple actions” to prepare include having sturdy shoes by your bed; food and water storage; flashlight and extra batteries; meet your neighbors; strap your water heater to wall studs; secure heavy furniture to walls; remove heavy things that could fall on beds; and talk to your children about what to do in an earthquake.
The division also suggested looking into earthquake insurance — “Don’t be discouraged by your first quote” — and pointed people to its earthquake preparedness website at utah.gov/beready.
“Don’t waste this opportunity to learn earthquake facts, take charge with earthquake preparedness and take time to heal,” the agency urged.
The Twitter thread was, perhaps, a bit less reassuring than intended. The “worst-case scenario” for Utah is a magnitude 7 earthquake, and even then “most” buildings would remain standing and “99% of Utahns would survive.”
The Facebook page clarified that to 99.9%. But even then, if 0.01% of Utahns don’t survive, that would be more than 3,000 deaths.