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Earthquake Preparedness Checklist

By on August 23, 2011

An earthquake has hit the Virginia, Washington, DC area and could be felt as far away as New York City.  An earthquake (also known as a quake, tremor, etc.) is the result of a sudden release of energy in the Earth’s crust that creates seismic waves.  Preliminary reports out of the nation’s capital are indicating that a 5.8 magnitude earthquake occurred in Virginia at 1:51 pm EDT., according to the USGS.

To best prepare for an earthquake, consider creating a home earthquake kit. It should contain all the emergency shelter, sanitation, first aid, lighting, and communication supplies necessary to prepare for a major earthquake. Take time to consider the needs you and your family may have for 3-4 days after a major quake and plan accordingly.

If you are indoors when a earthquake hits:

• Drop, Cover, and Hold — Take cover under a sturdy desk, table, or bench, or against an inside wall, and hold on. If there is no desk or table near you, cover your face and head with your arms and crouch in an inside corner of the building.

• Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls, and anything that could fall, such as lighting fixtures and furniture.

• If you are in bed when the earthquake strikes, stay there. Hold on and protect your head with a pillow, unless you are under a heavy light fixture that could fall. In that case, move to the nearest safe place.

• Stay inside until the shaking stops and it is safe to go outside. Most injuries during earthquakes occur when people are hit by falling objects while entering or leaving buildings.

• Be aware that electricity may go out or that sprinkler systems or alarms may turn on.

• Do not use elevators.

After and earthquake, keep shoes and a working flashlight next to each persons bed and teach everyone in your household to use emergency whistles and/or to knock 3 times repeatedly if they become trapped. Rescuers searching collapsed buildings will be listening for sounds. Everyone should know the location of utility shutoffs and keep needed tools nearby. It’s also critical to know how to turn off the gas, water, and electricity to your home. Only turn off the gas if you smell or hear leaking gas.

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