What should I do before, during, and after an EARTHQUAKE?
Earthquakes can be devastating disasters, but everyone who takes appropriate earthquake safety precautions can minimize damages, injuries, and other potential quake concerns. It can help to have valuable tips on ways to keep your family safe before, during and after a quake. There is no effective warning system for earthquakes, which makes preliminary precautions even more critical. At the same time, knowing how to behave when a quake strikes and what to do after the event is just as important to staying safe.
7 Things to do before an Earthquake:
There are many things families and individuals can do to prepare for an earthquake, including the following:
- Install latches on cupboard doors to prevent them from opening during a quake.
- Use non-skid shelf liners for kitchen and bathroom cupboards, medicine cabinets, and closet shelves.
- Store heavy items or glassware in lower cabinets so they do not become dangerous projectiles.
- Update home insurance policies to adequately cover building costs, possession replacement, and injury deductibles.
- Secure large appliances such as refrigerators, water heaters, air conditioners, and other bulky items with straps, bolts, and other stabilizing methods. Do not put heavy artwork, mirrors, or shelves over beds.
- Prepare an earthquake emergency kit with non-perishable food, bottled water, copies of important documents (birth certificates, prescriptions, insurance papers, etc.), flashlights, first aid materials, blankets, spare glasses, and other essential items and store it where it will be easily accessible in case of a quake. Keep cell phones charged and replace emergency kit supplies as necessary to keep them usable.
- Teach all family members basic first aid, how to behave during a quake, and what to do after a quake.
6 Things to do during an Earthquake:
Earthquakes can last just a few seconds or as long as several minutes, and knowing how to react during the quake can help prevent injuries:
- Immediately seek a safe location such as in a doorway (if you live in an old, adobe house that is not reinforced), beneath a table or desk, or along an interior wall away from windows or hazardous objects.
- Cover the back of your head and your eyes to minimize injury from flying debris.
- If cooking, turn off heating elements immediately.
- If outdoors, stay in open areas away from buildings, power lines, trees, and other potential hazards.
- If driving, stop quickly but safely and stay in the vehicle. Do not stop near power lines, bridges, overpasses, or other potentially dangerous locations.
- Stay calm and brace yourself to keep your balance, sitting if possible.
8 Things to do after an Earthquake:
Quick thinking after an earthquake hits can minimize immediate dangers. Proper earthquake safety precautions after a tremor include the following:
- Be prepared for aftershocks, which may be stronger than the initial jolt.
- Tend injuries immediately and summon emergency assistance if necessary.
- Check for structural damage, but do not enter a building that shows damage or has visible cracks in the walls or foundation.
- Wear shoes at all times to avoid stepping on broken glass.
- Turn off gas, and water if damage is suspected or if advised to do so by authorities.
- Be cautious opening cabinets, cupboards, and closets in case items may be poised to fall.
- Keep phone lines clear for emergency use.
- Be patient: It may take hours or days to restore all services depending on the severity of the quake.
“Immediately seek a safe location such as in a doorway (if you live in an old, adobe house that is not reinforced), beneath a table or desk, or along an interior wall away from windows or hazardous objects.”
“If you’re in a car, stop the car and stay inside the car until the earthquake stops…”