Learn how to prepare for an earthquake with the following safety tips provided by the American Red Cross.
An earthquake is a sudden, rapid shaking of the earth caused by the breaking and shifting of rock beneath the earth’s surface. Earthquakes strike suddenly, without warning, and they can occur at any time of the year, day or night.
Did you know?Doorways are no stronger than any other part of a structure so don’t rely on them for protection! During an earthquake, get under a sturdy piece of furniture and hold on. It will help shelter you from falling objects that could injure you during an earthquake.
Prepare for an Earthquake
• Become aware of fire evacuation and earthquake safety plans for all of the buildings you occupy regularly.
• Pick safe places in each room of your home, workplace and/or school. A safe place could be under a piece of furniture or against an interior wall away from windows, bookcases or tall furniture that could fall on you.
• Practice “drop, cover and hold on” in each safe place. If you do not have sturdy furniture to hold on to, sit on the floor next to an interior wall and cover your head and neck with your arms.
• Keep a flashlight and sturdy shoes by each person’s bed in case the earthquake strikes in the middle of the night.
• Make sure your home is securely anchored to its foundation.
• Bolt and brace water heaters and gas appliances to wall studs.
• Bolt bookcases, china cabinets and other tall furniture to wall studs.
• Hang heavy items, such as pictures and mirrors, away from beds, couches and anywhere people sleep or sit.
• Brace overhead light fixtures.
• Install strong latches or bolts on cabinets. Large or heavy items should be closest to the floor.
• Learn how to shut off the gas valves in your home and keep a wrench handy for that purpose.
• Learn about your area’s seismic building standards and land use codes before you begin new construction.
• Keep and maintain an emergency supplies kit in an easy-to-access location.
If You Are Inside When the Shaking Starts...
• Drop, cover and hold on. Move as little as possible.
• If you are in bed, stay there, curl up and hold on. Protect your head with a pillow.
• Stay away from windows to avoid being injured by shattered glass.
• Stay indoors until the shaking stops and you are sure it is safe to exit. When it is, use stairs rather than the elevator in case there are aftershocks, power outages or other damage.
• Be aware that fire alarms and sprinkler systems frequently go off in buildings during an earthquake, even if there is no fire.
If You Are Outside When the Shaking Starts...
• Find a clear spot (away from buildings, power lines, trees, streetlights) and drop to the ground. Stay there until the shaking stops.
• If you are in a vehicle, pull over to a clear location and stop. Avoid bridges, overpasses and power lines if possible. Stay inside with your seatbelt fastened until the shaking stops. Then, drive carefully, avoiding bridges and ramps that may have been damaged.
• If a power line falls on your vehicle, do not get out. Wait for assistance.
• If you are in a mountainous area or near unstable slopes or cliffs, be alert for falling rocks and other debris. Landslides are often triggered by earthquakes.
source: American Red Cross
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