Kimberly Houk ReportingAn earthquake shook northwestern Wyoming early this morning. It registered a 5 on the Richter scale. An earthquake of that magnitude can cause damage, but this one, 19 miles northeast of Jackson Hole, has had its greatest effect as a wake-up call.
Maralin Hoff has been nicknamed the "Earthquake Lady" because it's her job to make sure Utahns are prepared. And the Wyoming shaker gives her another reason to spread the word. She says everyone can start with an Emergency Kit.
Maralin Hoff, Dept. of Public Safety: “Children should have an ER backpack by their bedsides. At your office, your vehicle, home, everywhere you should have a kit. Put a band-aid in your purse. "
Hoff says most things you can find around your home, like a flashlight, clothing, and first aid items. The key is making sure everything is in one place.
Hoff: “It's just wise to have extra food stored at home, water especially. You never know when or if our water system will ever be contaminated."
Hoff says now is the time to get prepared. Wyoming's early morning earthquake was one of 10 earthquakes to shake both Utah and Wyoming since Christmas day. Four of the ten earthquakes were in central Utah near Nephi.
Bob Smith has studied earthquakes for decades. He teaches at the University of Utah and is familiar with the area in Wyoming where the earthquake hit.
Bob Smith, U of U Professor: “This earthquake was felt over an area at least 200 miles long. It was felt from southern Montana clear down to Pocatello, Idaho."
Smith keeps a close eye on the seismic activity of the Wasatch Front. He says although the Wyoming earthquake has no affect on Utah, the Wasatch Front's fault line looks a lot like the Teton Fault line. Another reason why an earthquake 200 miles away hit close to home for people worried about emergency preparation.