You feel the earth rapidly shaking under you. You see light fixtures swaying. Those items you have on those high shelves could suddenly fall to the floor any minute. For some reason, you feel dizzy but have been feeling okay till now. You look at everybody else around you with their faces contorted in panic. Yes, you are in the middle of an earthquake, and you can’t figure out why those essential pointers in earthquake drills just seem too impossible to remember.
Without warning, an earthquake can strike suddenly. It is caused by the shifting and breaking of the rock underneath the surface of the earth. It can happen regardless of the time of day, with about 45 states and territories in the US being at moderate to very high risk of having earthquakes. To find out if your area belongs to these locations, get in touch with the local American Red Cross. the locale emergency management agency, the department of natural resources or the state geological survey.
During an earthquake, any home not attached to a foundation such as a mobile home is at a particular risk. In addition, homes that have foundations built on landfills or other unstable soil structures also have an increased risk of damage.
You never know when an earthquake could occur, but it always pays to be prepared. Always be aware of the earthquake safety plans and fire evacuation routes in the building/s you frequently occupy. Pinpoint the safest places to be at in your workplace, home or school and formulate a route to easily get there from anywhere in the building. Doorways have long been considered the safest locations to be at during earthquakes, but they are no stronger than any other part of a building. The best place to take shelter in are: against an interior wall not near a window, bookcase or tall furniture, or under a sturdy piece of furniture that you can hold onto so you can be shielded from falling items.
Earthquakes can result in power outages and getting cut off from the outside world. Always have an emergency supplies kit in an easily accessible location, and be sure to include the best hand crank weather radio in the kit, as well as a flashlight. The kit should also include water, non-perishable food, extra batteries, a first aid kit, medications and medical items, sanitation and personal hygiene products, a cellphone with charger, a multipurpose tool, family and emergency contact info, extra cash, copies of personal or vital documents, a map of your area and an emergency blanket.
Overhead light fixtures should be adequately braced. You should also know how to shut off gas valves in your property. Make sure to have a wrench handy for that purpose.