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How to Survive an Earthquake

how to survive an earthquake

 

Earthquakes are not only terrifying; they can be deadly. In 2012, there were over 700 deaths from earthquakes. Learning how to survive an earthquake is essential if you live in any area that is prone to earthquakes.

Who Gets Earthquakes?

Did you know that there are only 8 states that do not report earthquake activity? These states are:

  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Iowa
  • Maryland
  • North Dakota
  • Vermont
  • Wisconsin

The remaining 42 states are affected by earthquakes. States with the most earthquakes are:

  • Alaska
  • California
  • Hawaii
  • Nevada
  • Washington
  • Idaho
  • Wyoming
  • Montana
  • Utah
  • Oregon

Even though an earthquake may not occur in all these states, it is often felt in the states surround the one struck by an earthquake. It may still cause damage and injuries or death. Therefore, in addition to having a survival kit and first aid kit, it is essential for the majority of people in the U.S. to know how to survive and earthquake when one occurs.

Survival Myth

One common myth is to use the “triangle of life.” This idea was spread via email and was written by Doug Copp from American Rescue Team International. He claims that taking cover under an object that creates a void, often in a triangle shape, is the safest thing to do.

His email states, “…when buildings collapse, the weight of the ceilings falling upon objects or furniture inside crushes these objects, leaving a space or void next to them. This space is what I call the ‘triangle of life‘”

Drop, Cover, and Hold On!

To practice this method:

  • Drop to your knees, before you are knocked down by the shaking.
  • Cover your head and neck under a sturdy table or desk.
  • Hold on to your shelter object and be ready to move if necessary.

If there is nothing to take shelter under, get down against an interior wall and cover your head and neck with your arms. You should also make sure heavy items in your home are secured and use an earthquake kit to make your home safer.

Watch a demonstration of how to survive an earthquake in this video:

Image credit: USGS

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Earthquake Prep for the Central U.S.

earthquakes in central us

Most people think of California when they think of earthquake country, but the fact is, the Central U.S. has moderate to light earthquake fairly often, and larger earthquakes that will cause damage are expected to occur in the near future.

Would it surprise you to learn that there are 150 earthquakes each year in the Central U.S.?

Sadly, most people in the Central U.S. don’t think they are in any danger from earthquakes, so they do not prepare. If you live in the central U.S., take steps now to be reduce damage and injuries in the event of a major earthquake where you live.

If you live in an older home, be sure it is retrofitted to meet current codes for earthquake safety. Your home should be bolted to its foundation, the water heater should be strapped and furniture should be secured. If you have a chimney, it may need to be strengthened to keep it from collapsing. Get an earthquake kit to help you get your home secured.

You should also have emergency kits for your home, car and place of employment. A quake can occur at any time, and the resulting damage to roads and buildings may make it impossible to get home, so you will need to have emergency supplies with you.

Medical services and banks may be disabled after an earthquake, so be sure you have cash on hand, as well as a first aid kit and other essential medical supplies.

Look into a separate earthquake policy to cover any damage your property may sustain. Contrary to what many people think, a standard homeowner’s policy will not usually cover earthquake damage.

For more tips on how to prepare for an earthquake in the Central U.S., download the free PDF Putting Down Roots in Earthquake Country from Earthquake Country Alliance.

Image credit: Earthquake Country Alliance

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2013 Central U.S. ShakeOut!

On February 7, 2013 you can participate in the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut! So far there will be 1.2 million participants. Will you be one of them?

The central states participating this year include Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama and Mississippi. To take part, you must first fill out the registration form. Then get ready to Drop, Cover and Hold On where ever you happen to be at 10:15 am on February 7th.

You can take part in this drill individually, as an organization or as a business. Spread the word, because the more people who know what to do in an earthquake, the better prepared we can all be to get through it safely.

This is also a great opportunity to teach your family what to do in the case of an earthquake.

To prepare, make sure to review the Earthquake Safety PDF so everyone understands what to do.You can also download a PDF for Earthquake Preparedness for People with Disabilities.You should discuss preparedness to be sure everyone has their minimum of three-days supply of food and water. Discuss other ways of being prepared as well, such as having an earthquake kit and first aid kit.

You can find plenty of additional educational resources by visiting ShakeOut.org.

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Be Earthquake Ready

Earthquakes have really been in the news lately. Last week Alaska had several to deal with including one that prompted a tsunami warning that was later canceled.

Also last week, a small earthquake occurred in Colorado, apparently caused by coal mining in the area. Another small earthquake hit Oklahoma as well, and fortunately, there were no injuries.

Does it seem like there are a lot of earthquakes lately? Scientists are researching ways to predict earthquakes by monitoring electrical currents, and they expect a ‘big one’ to hit the Northwest soon based on small tremors that seem to be getting progressively stronger.

Another study found that faults previously considered stable may actually rupture, causing a ‘mega-quake‘. They added that a quake of this magnitude could place a heavy burden on emergency responders.

This is why it makes sense to prepare for emergencies like this. Make sure your emergency kit and first aid kit are ready to go. Don’t forget the extra earthquake supplies that you need to secure your home, and be ready to evacuate if necessary.

You need to be ready to take care of yourself and your family if emergency responders cannot get to you.

Don’t think it can’t happen to you.

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7 Steps for Earthquake Survival

 

According to FEMA, earthquakes are not limited to the West Coast. In fact, there are 45 states and territories in the U.S. that are at a moderate to high risk for earthquakes. Not only that, but it is impossible to predict when or where earthquakes will occur. That is why it is essential to be prepared – now.

Here are 7 ways to prepare yourself for an earthquake:

1. Secure hazards

Look around your home and identify hazards that could cause injury during an earthquake. Heavy items like TVs, bookcases, and furniture should be secured to keep them from falling on someone.

There is an assortment of fastening tools available specifically for earthquake safety. These earthquake supplies include no-fall picture hooks, furniture fastening straps and more. Once everything is secured, you are less likely to be injured in an earthquake.

2. Have a plan

Always have a disaster plan in place and make sure everyone in your family is aware of your plan. This plan should include evacuation and reunion plans, local and out of state emergency contacts (names and phone numbers), as well as the location of your earthquake emergency supplies kit.

3. Have a disaster kit

Your emergency supply kit should include three days of food and water per person, a first aid kit, emergency weather radio, flashlight with extra batteries, and any other essential supplies such as prescription, personal papers, cash, an emergency whistle, etc.

You should have an emergency kit at home, in your car and at work so you are prepared no matter where you are when disaster strikes.

4. Make sure your home is safe

Check the overall structure of your home to be sure it is the safest place to be during an earthquake. Don’t just assume a house that meets local building codes is safe enough, especially if the house is older. Download the Is Your Place Safe? PDF for tips for making sure your house is safe and sound.

5. Learn what to do

When there is an earthquake, the best thing to do, wherever you are, is Drop, Cover and Hold On! Drop to the floor, take cover under a sturdy desk or table and hold on tight.

6. Assess the damage

After the earthquake, check to see if there are any injuries that need immediate attention. Also look for hazards such as damaged gas, water and electrical lines. These things will need prompt attention to prevent further injuries.

7. Communicate

Contact local agencies to let them know the damage you have sustained. Turn on your emergency radio to stay up to date and contact emergency personnel and insurance agents to update them on any damages or injuries. Don’t forget to notify friends and family to let them know you are okay.

Do you have an earthquake plan?

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