Nevadans Prepare for a Major Earthquake - 8 News NOW

Nevadans Prepare for a Major Earthquake

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LAS VEGAS -- A killer earthquake could strike Nevada at any given moment, with no notice.

How a person acts in those few seconds of panic could mean the difference between life and death.

Las Vegas is crossed and surrounded by tectonic faults considered active. Earthquake preparation is key because Las Vegas is on shaky ground.

Thursday the Great Nevada Shakeout educated thousands of Nevadans on what to do when the ground rumbles, including at UNLV's applied geophysics center.

They study the science behind earthquakes in the lab, and Thursday the group learned a simple life-saving lesson: drop, cover and hold on.

"Objects fall over, and that is one of the biggest dangers in an earthquake in your home," lab manager Chris Cothrun said.

One day, Nevadans could feel a huge jolt, but no one knows when.

However, earthquake experts like Woody Savage do know Nevada is ranked third in the nation at risk for strong earthquakes.

"There are active faults along the edge of the Las Vegas valley. There is a system of faults called the Las Vegas fault system." Savage said.

Las Vegas is home to some of the most modern buildings in the world. Clark County officials say many hotels are even built with seismic standards that surpass building codes.

Only the vacant Harmon Tower, which is part of the CityCenter project, has been cause for concern on the Strip.

Elsewhere, some buildings are in danger of crumbling.

"In the state of Nevada, there are many thousands of unreinforced masonry, brick buildings, cinder block buildings that have very little flexibility," Savage said.

Students at the Veterans Tribute Career and Technical Academy also dove under their desks and tables.

"An ounce of prevention is a pound of cure," Liridon Poliku, a senior at VTCTA, said.

UNLV says some faults are capable of earthquakes with magnitudes as large as 7.

One reason Las Vegas is at high risk for casualties is because of its increased population

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