In Case of an Earthquake: What You Need to Know and Why

In school, many young students are taught a few basics about an earthquake:

  • There’s a lot of shaking going on from under the ground.
  • It’s caused when two big plates under the layers of the earth suddenly bump into each other.
  • Their jagged edges get stuck on the fractures of the fault line, releasing huge vibrations.

In adult terms, an earthquake occurs through the constant motion of the earth’s surface. This motion produces buildup and releases stress stored in rocks at and near the earth’s surface. Earthquakes are the sudden, rapid shaking of the earth as this energy is let go.

The bizarre thing, is that an earthquake doesn’t usually last more than one minute, but can leave so much destruction behind and loss of life in those mere 60 seconds.

Probably the most frightening aspect is that you never know when one is coming. Scientists have tried in every possible way to predict an earthquake’s arrival, but at this time, the experts have been unsuccessful.

That means, preparation is of utmost importance.

Before An Earthquake

  1. Put together an earthquake survival kit.
    • Experts say you should have enough supplies for three days, should such a disaster strike.
    • Telephones, running water, and other basics will probably not be working.
    • Have a gallon of water per person each day.
    • Pack away food that doesn’t require much but a can opener, or foods that you don’t have to heat up.
    • Have a basic first aid kit and fire extinguisher.
    • Add a solar/hand-crank powered flashlight, weather band radio, & USB device charger that doesn’t require batteries for keeping smart phones up and running.
    • Have blankets, sturdy shoes or boots, clothing, and cash on hand, and a few tools for repairs.
    • Also pack such items in the trunk of the car, should an earthquake hit while you are traveling away from your home.
  2. Learn how to shut off water, gas, and electricity.
  3. Anchor very heavy items to the walls or floors, including furniture, major appliances, and cupboards.
  4. Think about purchasing earthquake insurance. Have this discussion with your agent.
  5. Have a plan on where to meet up with family after an earthquake strikes should you become separated.

During An Earthquake

  1. If you are outoors, stay there and get into an open area. Do not be near power lines or buildings that could topple.
  2. If you are indoors, stay indoors. Drop, cover, and hold on! Stand against an interior wall, or hide under a table. Do not be near glass, windows, mirrors, fireplaces, or tall furniture.
  3. If you are driving, stop the car, parking away from bridges, overpasses, trees, structures, power lines, etc. Stay in the car.
  4. If you are in the mountains, watch out for landslides, which can develop. Do not stand near cliffs or uneasy slopes. Get away from trees and try to look for open space.
  5. If you are at the beach, get to higher ground, because an earthquake can cause a tsunami to develop.

After An Earthquake

  1. When the shaking stops…. Check for injuries and administer first aid to those who need it.
  2. Turn on the radio. Try landlines and smart phones.
  3. Check if there are any downed power lines or fires burning. For small fires, use the fire extinguisher to put them out.
  4. Look at the gas, electric, and water lines for damage. If you find damage, shut down the valves. If you smell gas, turn the valve off and open the windows and door and leave. Report it it to authorities immediately.
  5. Check your home for structural damage. Be very careful around broken glass, big cracks in the floors and debris. Put on your emergency kit boots or sturdy shoes on to walk around in.
    Aftershocks will probably happen. Be alert.

Even if you don’t live in an earthquake risk area, you should be prepared about this unsettling, powerful act of nature, should you travel on vacation or business, and happen to be present when an earthquake strikes.

Statistics show that about 120 destructive earthquakes occur per year. That’s one every 3 days. Incredible, when you think about it. Be prepared!

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