Imagine the ground under you is moving and you’re in the middle of an earthquake. It’s pretty scary, isn’t it? Unfortunately, it’s not exactly possible to predict earthquakes, though they can be anticipated. The natural disasters mainly occur near edges of tectonic plates (hello, California); however, they can occur anywhere. Learning what to do in the event of a major earthquake is an essential survival skill to have, and one that allows you to walk away with hopefully no more than a few minor scratches and scrapes.
Let’s look at a few tips for effectively surviving an earthquake:
Before the Earthquake
Take inventory of your home and move any heavy objects to safe locations that don’t involve shelves. Avoid hanging heavy pictures or mirrors over sleeping areas and be sure to anchor heavy appliances such as refrigerators and water heaters. Anchor bookcases, dressers, and entertainment units to the wall as well.
Stock up on emergency supplies and store flammable liquids in a safe space. Learn how to turn off your gas, electricity, and water while you’re at it.
During the Earthquake
Stay indoors, if possible. Find a safe location, such as along an interior wall, under a sturdy desk, or under a solid table. If you’re cooking, turn off the appliances and look for cover. Remember to stay away from windows, mirrors and other heavy objects.
If you’re outdoors when the earthquake strikes, move to an open area as quickly as possible. The idea is to avoid any area where falling objects such as buildings, trees, signs and power lines can hit you. If you’re driving, slow down and stop on the side of the road. Don’t stop on a bridge or overpass. The same is true for power lines, large signs, and trees. Stay in your car.
After the Earthquake
Check for injuries on your body before helping others. Assess building damage as best you can; if you suspect serious damage, move away from the structure and find a safe place, such as an a open field. If you’re indoors and you smell a gas leak or similar problem, herd everyone outdoors to a safe location. Stay clear of all power lines and anything else that looks hazardous.
Have you survived an earthquake? Feel free to share your best tips below!