Earthquakes

An earthquake occurs when stress on a faultline has reached its peak point and the fault relieves the stress, which results in an earthquake. You know an earthquake has occurred when the ground starts violently moving, and objects around you are shaking as well. In an event of an earthquake, you should stop whatever you’re doing and drop to the ground, and take cover underneath shelter. If you are unable to drop, brace in place and cover your head with your arms. More information at ready.gov.

You can prepare for an earthquake by creating a plan with your family about what to do In the event and aftermath of an earthquake. You can also secure objects like TV’s, bookcases, refrigerators, and other objects that hang on your walls. You should also create an emergency communications plan so you can contact someone out of state and plan on where to meet if you and your family members get separated. Also, make a supply kit. According to Ready.gov, it should contain enough food and water for three days, a flashlight, a fire extinguisher, a whistle, medication (if needed), pet food (if needed), and extra batteries and charging devices for phones and other important items.

After an earthquake, expect aftershocks. Aftershocks are earthquakes of smaller magnitudes that usually follow a main earthquake. Avoid areas that have power lines and big trees, as they may fall. You can also check yourself and help others if hurt, if you have the proper training. You can also learn how to be the Help Until Help Arrives. If you are in a damaged building, exit as soon as you can and move away from it. Don’t enter other damaged buildings. If you find yourself trapped, protect your mouth, nose and eyes from dust and other particles. Send a text, bang on a pipe or wall, or use a whistle if you have it instead of shouting so rescuers can locate you (ready.gov). If you are near the coastline (or an area that can experience tsunamis), seek higher ground or inland immediately after the ground ceases to shake. According to ready.gov, text messages may be more reliable than phone calls, and you should save them for emergencies. Once you are safe, listen to news on the radio, TV, social media and other sources for instructions and information. Additionally, don’t remove heavy debris by yourself, and wear protective clothing (e.g. long sleeved shirt, long plants, work gloves, and sturdy thick-soled shoes) during clean-up. Ready.gov recommends registering on the Red Cross “Safe and Well” website.