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Earthquake Safety Tips: How to Stay Safe Before, During and After

Earthquake Safety: What to do before, during, and after an earthquake.

Earthquakes, ground tremors, shakers, rumblers. Whatever you call it, seismic activity is a serious event worthy of your time and attention. Spurred into writing this by news of the recent earthquake in San Jose, California, I find myself realizing that many thousands of people do not know how to prepare or behave in the case of an earthquake.

The first thing you need to figure out is whether you live in a seismically active region. After you figure out whether your area is active or not, here's the kicker: Your area may eventually be affected in some fashion by seismic activity anyway! Isn't that nice? So, now that you know, let us talk about what you can do now, before your walls start shaking and your floors start moving.

How to Prepare for an Earthquake

The first thing you will want to make sure of is that any furniture you own which has wheels attached for ease of movement is able to either be locked into place, or does not store items which you're particularly interested in keeping intact in the event of an earthquake. At my house, two of our computer desks are on wheels, only one of them featuring wheel locks.

Next, take stock of your top-heavy furniture and do what you can to secure it to the wall or floor in case of an earthquake. Secure objects like mirrors attached to your dresser firmly so they do not fall awkwardly during tremors. Be conscious of where you store heavy objects, and where paintings, heavy clocks or mirrors are on your walls. Secure these objects well in preparation for a possible earthquake.

The name of the game in preparing your home and family for an earthquake is security and awareness. Involving each member of your family in your home's earthquake safety will help to drive the point home; earthquakes are not a game, they are serious. Millions of dollars in damages occur during earthquakes each year. A little readiness can minimize the damages your family experiences.

The Earthquake is here!! Now what?

First, remember to STAY CALM. Take a couple of deep breaths, and then move into the nearest doorway away from glass, windows, or large furniture. Alternately, move beneath a large table or desk if one of those items is close by, as these articles of furniture may provide you protection from falling objects. If you're outside then move to the nearest clear place away from trees, fences, buildings or signs. Take special notice of where utility lines are in relation to you, and keep far away from them if possible.

If you happen to be driving when an earthquake occurs, do not panic. Drive your car rationally and calmly to the side of the road away from trees and utility lines, and do not exit the vehicle. Your vehicle will act as a ground in the event of a broken power line, and is a safer location to wait out the shaking.

It has stopped! What do I do now?

Wait for a minute or two, then proceed cautiously to evaluate your surroundings for damage. Your next action may depend on the severity of the earthquake. In cases of high magnitude earthquakes where your home sustains damages, you may wish to evacuate your home and travel to your city or county's designated evacuation zones. Do not make phone calls for an hour following an earthquake unless in the case of medical emergency.

For more information on earthquake safety, earthquake preparedness and government procedure, please visit the links below:

American Red Cross

Federal Emergency Management

Earthquake Safety Do's and Don'ts

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bratney on April 11, 2012:

thats bad

gheneth on October 27, 2011:

i think when theres an earthquake we should be prepared........

Jon Olenick, M.D. on April 26, 2010:

If you have an RV or boat with accomodations near by, keep it stocked with food, water, your medications and first aid kit. Have a basic survival kit in each of your vehicles. Jon

James (Jay) Schaefer-Jones on April 21, 2008:

Natural disasters like earthquakes in the Midwest are unpredictable. Be safe. Be prepared. Plan ahead for the unexpected. How will you protect your family?

Part of the solution is rooted in common sense, but much more depends upon effectively applying learned survival skills. Citizens need a helpful reference tool--a "Swiss army knife" for handling today's threats. This book by James (Jay) Schaefer-Jones, "Preparing for the Worst: A Comprehensive Guide to Protecting Your Family from Terrorist Attacks, Natural Disasters, and Other Catastrophes" is that tool.

James (Jay) Schaefer-JonesAuthor of "Preparing for the Worst: A Comprehensive Guide to Protecting Your Family from Terrorist Attacks, Natural Disasters, and Other Catastrophes"ISBN: 027599631X

Isabella Snow on November 03, 2007:

This is good! I've been in 2 minor earthquakes and I did not enjoy them!

Earth Angel on October 31, 2007:

GREAT Hub GamerGirl!! I am writing one myself on Preparedness!! You have provided a wonderful and timely resource for many!! I'm sure you know by now San Jose, California had a 5+ magnitude last night at 8:04pm!! Thanks for sharing!! Blessings, Earth Angel!!

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