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Preparing for an earthquake

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posted on Feb, 18 2011 @ 12:00 AM
Since there's been so much talk lately about earthquakes in the New Madrid seismic zone, I thought it would be a good idea to start a thread about earthquake safety, what should be done to prepare for one, and what to do during. My intention here is *not* to scare people, I just want people to have the best chance of survival in case something does happen.

Before a quake

So, a lot about being prepared for a quake applies to other disasters as well, but I'll include it here anyway, just as a reminder

1. Have enough food & water to last at least a few days, and a camp stove
2. Keep a well stocked, up to date first aid kit
3. Know where the fire extinguisher is. If ya don't have one, buy one!
4. Know where utility shut offs are, how to shut them off, and keep appropriate tools near them.
5. Keep a pair of shoes and a flashlight near your bed. Stumbling around in the dark over broken glass is not fun
6. Have a battery powered radio on hand
7. Make sure your bed is safe...don't have it near a window, or hang heavy/glass objects near it
8. Brace your water heater. You don't want that thing rolling around, causing trouble
9. Install latches on cabinets so your favorite mug isn't able to escape and knock you out.
10. Secure top heavy furniture, like bookcases, to the wall
11. Put non-skid mats and/or quake putty under collectibles and other objects on shelves (Quake putty is good for keeping your things from getting knocked over by kids and pets too!
12. Speaking of pets, be sure you prepare for them too. Have carriers, food and water for them.

During a quake

First of all, I want to address something called the "triangle of life", an alternative safety method advocated by a man called Doug Copp. You may have heard about it already, since it was circulated by email, but for those of you who haven't, he basically says that anyone using the standard duck and cover method will always be crushed to death in the event of a building collapse, and that you should instead curl up next to a large, heavy piece of furniture.

The entirety of the email can be found at Snopes

Please, don't take his advice! Do a quick google search, and you'll see most, if not all, experts agree the triangle is dangerous.
It might be useful in countries where collapses occur more frequently due to poor construction, but it's more likely to do more harm than good in places with better construction.

Most injuries and deaths from earthquakes are due to things like falling debris, flying glass, etc., so if you're not hiding under something, you're more likely to be injured.
Also, things will move and topple over during a quake, so curling up next to something heavy is good way to get yourself squashed.

Your best course of action really depends on where you are at the time.

If you're..

In bed - It's best to stay put, and put a pillow over your head. (Pulling the blanket over your head and pretending there is no earthquake is optional.)

Inside - Cover your head, and duck under a sturdy piece of furniture, or against an inside wall. Whatever you do, DON'T run (or walk, skip or prance) outside. That's the most dangerous thing you could do. Also, avoid being on stairs, or near windows.

Outside - Stay away from buildings, large trees, power lines, and streets

Driving - Avoid bridges and overpasses, pull over if you can safely.

In a plane - Be happy, because obviously you wore your lucky underwear/socks today!

After a quake

1. After you've changed your pants, check to make sure everyone is ok. Pets will probably be hiding under furniture, and will need a change of pants as well.
2. Be aware there will most likely be aftershocks
3. Check for fires, gas leaks, and damaged electrical lines
4. Check your home for damage, and clean up any broken glass
5. If the power is off, don't use candles as a light source, don't use a fireplace, as there may be chimney damage, and remember to eat perishable foods first. Also remember that a lot of a cell phones can be charged by connecting them via usb to a laptop.
6. Be careful when opening up cabinets, fridges, and freezers.
7. Listen to the radio for info.

And that's it for my quake safety lecture today..
I apologize for the length, but I think anyone that lives in an area where quakes have been known to occur really should take a few minutes to read all of it.
Also, I'd love to hear if anyone has any other useful suggestions, tips or corrections!
Hope all of you and your loved ones stay safe.


posted on Feb, 18 2011 @ 12:12 AM
Here are some links that I think are very helpful as well..

How to shut off the gas if you suspect there's a leak:

Everyone should know how to do this, regardless of where you live. It's very easy.

An earthquake simulator that points out the places of danger in a typical home:
How quake safe is your home?

And last but not least, a quiz to test yourself on your quake knowledge:



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