While minor earthquakes occur deep beneath our feet every day, earthquakes we can feel are much less common. Most major earthquakes happen along the edge of oceanic and continental plates. In the United States, most earthquakes occur in Alaska, California and other western states, however it’s possible to experience an earthquake anywhere. Whether you live in an earthquake hotspot or you’re preparing for every disaster possible, we’ve come up with earthquake safety tips you should follow to remain out of harm’s way both during and after an earthquake.
If you live in an area that expects earthquakes regularly, it can be a good idea to consult a professional to learn how to make your home sturdier. Bolting bookcases to wall studs, installing latches on cupboards and securing your water heater will not only save your property and personal belongings, but will also help ensure your personal safety. Think ahead of time about where you’ll go if shaking begins while you’re at home. It should be in a room where nothing is likely to fall on you. Additionally, make sure you know how to turn off both your gas and water main lines in case there is a leak.
Staying Safe During an Earthquake
If you find yourself at home when an earthquake begins, retreat to your safe room or drop down, take cover under a desk or table immediately and hold on until the shaking stops. Stay put and stay indoors until the shaking stops and it’s safe to leave. Make sure to keep away from windows and anything that could fall on you. If you are in a high-rise, don’t be surprised if fire alarms and sprinklers go off during the quake.
If you are outside when the earthquake starts, do your best to find a clear spot away from tall buildings, power lines and even trees. If you are driving, slow down safely, drive to a clear place and stay inside the car until it stops shaking. Remember: Aftershocks are always a real possibility and can even cause more damage than the original earthquake. Stay safe and sheltered until you’re positive no more shaking will occur.
Staying Safe After an Earthquake
In the case of a major earthquake, it is possible to get stuck and stranded inside your own home. You should prepare an earthquake prep kit with: non-perishable food, an emergency water supply (at least 1 gallon per person in your home), dust masks, goggles, a flashlight and a battery-operated radio (with extra batteries). If anything has collapsed, make sure to wear your mask and googles, as well as quality shoes to protect your feet from broken glass. Use your emergency radio to monitor the overall situation in your area and receive the latest updates and instructions. Stay away from damaged buildings as they may still collapse, and do not move injured people unless it’s absolutely necessary to get them to safety. Instead, check your phone for a signal and call or text for help as soon as possible.
While earthquakes can be scary, they are not nearly as dangerous as many other natural disasters. With the right preparation and safety steps taken before and during an earthquake, you and your family have a high change of surviving unharmed. Have your own earthquake survival tips? Share them with us in the comments below! The more we all know, the safer we all are.