Thursday, August 23, 2012

Earthquake Safety

The 5.8 magnitude quake that rocked the East Coast on Aug. 23, 2011, caused many people to react the wrong way. Unused to earthquakes, many rushed out of their office buildings and homes in fear. But the emergency agencies said that is the exact opposite of what you should do if you find yourself in a quake stricken area.
If you are inside, stay inside. If you are outside, find cover outside.

Here are tips from the Emergency Survival Program on how you should react during an earthquake, followed by what to do immediately afterward.

Remember: Drop, Cover and Hold On
Drop to the floor if the building you are in is shaking.
Take cover under a sturdy object, such as a desk or table and hold on. If you are not near an object under which you can take cover, drop to the floor near a wall and protect your head.
Move with the structure until the shaking stops.
Areas near outer walls of buildings are the most dangerous during an earthquake because openings in them such as windows and doors are the first areas to collapse if a building's structure is compromised.

If you are outside, find an area free of hazards or structures such as towers, power lines or trees.

If you are driving, pull over to a safe area, stop the vehicle and put on the parking brake to prevent the vehicle from rolling. Stay inside your car.

If you are inside a large space, such as a stadium or theater, stay in your seat and protect your head until the earthquake is over.

After the earthquake stops:

Avoid making calls unless you are in an emergency situation. Unnecessary phone calls can tie up emergency communications. The federal government advises people to communicate with family and friends through text message rather than calling during times of major disasters.

DO NOT call 911 unless you have an emergency requiring police, fire or medical response.

Examine your area and anyone you are with for injuries and hazards. Attend to the injured first, then report the hazards to the proper officials.

DO NOT move injured persons unless they are in danger and do not enter a structure until you know it is safe and undamaged.

Be careful when opening cabinets and closets as items stored inside will have shifted and could fall on you, causing injury.

For a full checklist, click here.