About once a year or so I put up a list of earthquake guidelines, after the recent earthquake in Nepal, I thought now would be a good time. Every year or so I review these to keep them fresh in my mine and to make sure that I have not become lackadaisical in my preps. Over time like most people I will let things slip if I don’t consciously check them.
So here are some earthquake guidelines.
If you are inside when the shaking starts, you should:
- Drop, cover, and hold on. Move only a few steps to a nearby safe place. Most people injured in earthquakes move more than ten feet during the shaking.
- If you are elderly or have mobility impairments, remain where you are, bracing yourself in place.
- If you are in bed, stay there, hold on, and protect your head with a pillow. You are less likely to be injured if you stay in bed. Broken glass on the floor can injure you.
- Don’t hang mirrors or other heavy items on the wall over your bed.
- Stay away from windows. Windows can shatter with such force that you can be injured by flying glass even if you are several feet away.
- Stay indoors until the shaking stops and you are sure it is safe to exit. In buildings in the United States, you are safer if you stay where you are until the shaking stops. If you go outside, move quickly away from the building to prevent injury from falling debris.
- Be aware that fire alarm and sprinkler systems frequently go off in buildings during an earthquake, even if there is no fire. Check for and extinguish small fires, and exit via the stairs, not elevators even if they are still working.
- If you are in a coastal area, drop, cover, and hold on during an earthquake and then move immediately to higher ground when the shaking stops. Tsunamis (large ocean waves) are often generated by earthquakes.
If you are outdoors when the shaking starts, you should:
- Find a clear spot away from buildings, trees, streetlights, and power lines.
- Drop to the ground and stay there until the shaking stops. Injuries can occur from falling trees, streetlights, power lines, and building debris.
- If you are in a vehicle, pull over to a clear location, stop, and stay there with your seatbelt fastened until the shaking stops. Trees, power lines, poles, street signs, overpasses, and other overhead items may fall during earthquakes. Stopping in a clear location will reduce your risk, and a hard-topped vehicle will help protect you from flying or falling objects. Once the shaking has stopped, proceed with caution. Avoid bridges or ramps that might have been damaged by the quake.
- If you are in a mountainous area or near unstable slopes or cliffs, be alert for falling rocks and other debris that could be loosened by the earthquake. Landslides are often triggered by earthquakes.
Some additional earthquake guidelines
- Don’t forget food and water. Even if you are not into preparedness, in case of a major earthquake it may be several days to weeks before you get help from the government. Have at least a 72-hour kit or bug out bag.
- In addition you want to have on hand and available, a pry bar, shovel, hydraulic jack, hand saw, an axe, a sledge hammer, claw hammer, 16 penny nails, gorilla tape, rope, good flashlights or headlamps, hard hats, work gloves, dust masks, safety goggles, and spare batteries for the lights and radio. This will help you to rescue your family and neighbors.
- Don’t forget to keep your home well maintained, so nothing can fall, pictures well mounted on the wall, water heater strapped in place.
- If you live in brick homes or have a brick chimney, you may want to check to make sure they are structurally sound.
- Make sure your family is trained in how to shut off the utilities to help minimize the dangers off fire or water damage.
Hopefully you will never have an earthquake where you live, but history shows that they can occur anywhere. Take the time to sit down with your family and go over these earthquake guidelines, then look around your home and see what you can do to improve your safety.