Preparing Your Home for an Earthquake and Staying Safe While It Happens
Did you know that 45 of the 50 U.S. States are between a moderate to very high risk of earthquakes? Earthquakes strike without warning at any time of the year — day or night. Here are some tips we’ve gathered to help ensure you are prepared for the next big earthquake.
Before an Earthquake
Prepare in Advanced
To make sure you are well-prepared, here are some good practices to follow:
- Put together an emergency preparedness kit
- Create a household evacuation plan
- Learn about the earthquake emergency plans set in place at your work and your children’s schools and day care centers.
- Download the Emergency app by the American Red Cross on your iPhone or Android
- Prepare your home for an earthquake
During an Earthquake
Staying Safe Indoors
- Drop to the ground, cover yourself and hold on. Try to protect your head and torso.
- If you are in bed, stay there, curl up, and cover your head.
- Move as little as you possibly can. Most injuries during earthquakes such as sprains, fractures and head injuries occur as a result of people moving around or falling.
- Do not try to leave the building until the shaking stops and you’re sure you can exit safely.
- Avoid using elevators or escalators and use stairs or fire escapes instead.
- If you smell gas or hear a hissing sound, get out of the house and as far away as possible immediately.
- Be aware that smoke alarms or sprinkler systems may set off during the earthquake even if there is no actual fire.
Staying Safe Outdoors
- Try to find an open space as far away from buildings, power lines, trees, and streetlights as possible
- Drop to the ground and stay there until the shaking stops.
- If you’re are in a vehicle when you feel an earthquake, pull over to a clear location and stay inside with your seat belt fastened until the shaking stops.
- Avoid bridges, overpasses and power lines. If a power line falls on your vehicle, wait for assistance. Do not get out of your car until assistance arrives.
- If you are in a mountainous or hilly area with unstable slopes or cliffs, be extremely careful. Be alert for any falling rocks or other debris as well as landslides.
After an Earthquake
- Check yourself for any injuries and get first aid or medical attention if needed.
- If you didn’t sustain any serious injuries, feel free to help injured or trapped people.
- If you are away from your home, do not return until authorities announce it is safe to return
- Expect and be prepared for potential aftershocks or landslides following an earthquake. If you live on a coast, it is also very possible for a tsunami to follow an earthquake.
- Make sure to follow the “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” technique each time you feel an aftershock. Aftershocks can occur anytime after an earthquake and frequently occur minutes, days, weeks or event months following an earthquake.
- Be on the lookout for any fires, as they are the most common hazard after an earthquake. If you are able to, extinguish any small fire you see or contact your local fire department immediately if you are unable.
- Stay away from damaged buildings
- Watch out for fallen power lines or broken gas lines. If you notice any, report them to the utility company immediately.
- If you smell natural or propane gas or hear a hissing noise as you enter your home, work or other building, leave and call the fire department immediately.
- Inspect your home for damage
If you have any questions regarding earthquake safety, insurance or coverage, do not hesitate to call us during our business hours at 415-386-2283 or email us anytime at [email protected]
Contributor: Smruthi Sriram
Sources: Red Cross
All Images from Google