How to Survive an Earthquake

Last Updated on September 1, 2020

Due to the severity and potential dangers that come with an earthquake it is imperative to have a well-thought-out and practiced plan to implement in the event that an earthquake does occur where you live.

Earthquake Quick Facts

  • Earthquakes can happen anywhere can the planet
  • Earthquakes are most common in the states of Hawaii, California, Washington, Oregon, and also in Puerto Rico and the area of the Mississippi Valley
  • Earthquakes can cause tremendous damage to buildings, roads, and they can start large fires
  • Earthquakes can trigger tsunamis, avalanches, and mudslides

What to Do to Stay Safe During an Earthquake

If you find yourself in your vehicle when an earthquake hits you must pull your vehicle over and stop it. Put your parking brake on and remain inside your vehicle until it is safe to return following the earthquake.

If you are inside your house when an earthquake strikes, or another building, stay inside and do not go outside during the earthquake. Do not stay within a doorway either.  If an earthquake strikes while you are in your bed you must turn yourself to be face down and cover your head and neck with a pillow.

If you are outside when the earthquake hits, stay outside and make sure that you are not close to any buildings or other structures that could fall on you.

The Drop, Cover, and Hold On Technique

The drop cover and hold on technique is what you will do in the case of an earthquake. It is important to practice this so that you are capable of doing it even under the stress you will feel if an earthquake strikes.

First drop to the ground onto your hands and knees as soon as an earthquake hits, or wherever you are practicing.

Then you must cover your head and your neck. Do this with your arms. if where you dropped is near a strong table or other piece of furniture that you can crawl underneath do so. if there is no furniture for you to crawl under, well staying down, crawl over so that you are beside an interior wall that has no windows on it. Stay on your hands and knees with your neck and head covered at all times.

Here is the hold on part of the technique, and it is very important. If you are under a table or desk hold on with one hand and stay with the item even if it moves during the Quake. This item will help protect you from any falling debris. If you have no furniture that you are using for cover, hold on to your head and neck fully covered and protected so that you are prepared in the case of any falling objects.

Make sure that you and your family practice this technique so that everyone is comfortable with what to do in the event of an earthquake. It is a good idea to practice this technique at different times and in different parts of your home so that you all have an understanding of what to do no matter where you are if an earthquake strikes.

Prepare Your Home and Family for Surviving an Earthquake

Again, you and your family should practice the drop cover and hold method at regular intervals to ensure that everyone understands what to do in the event of an earthquake. Practice dropping to your knees and hands and covering your head and neck with your arms. Also practice crawling underneath a sturdy table or desk or two and a terrier wall that has no windows on it. Be sure that when practicing you keep your head in that covered the entire time.

It is important to secure a large items that could potentially fall and harm someone during an earthquake. Common items that should be secured to the walls include refrigerators, large entertainment centers, bookshelves, and any other large items that could be standing up or leaning against the wall.

All family should have an emergency preparedness plan that is in place that covers all topics including what to do during an earthquake both at home and went away from home. You can read up on how to make a family emergency preparedness plan here.

You should have a fully stocked emergency survival kit at all times. Your emergency supply kit should have enough emergency food supply and water storage containers that will last your family for at the minimum of three days. Your home should also have flashlights and fire extinguishers at the ready. And everyone in your home who is age appropriate should know how to use an access all of these items. Make sure that you have plenty of batteries on hand to charge devices and run important devices including medical and health-related instruments. You can also equip your home with a generator as oftentimes an earthquake cannot power out for a significant amount of time. Read here for more info on how to prepare for a blackout.

If you live in an area that has a high likelihood for an earthquake you should definitely consider taking out an insurance policy specifically for earthquake damage. Standard homeowners insurance generally does not cover damage incurred during an earthquake.

You should make all necessary repairs and improvements to your home as the need arises. Parts of your home that are structurally weak are more likely to be damaged and crumble during an earthquake. Do not leave these tasks as taking care of them as needed will save you additional damage and potentially safety concerns.

What to Do After an Earthquake

It is very important to take Extreme Caution following an earthquake as this is a time where many people who survived the initial Quake become injured.  These injuries can be caused by damaged buildings, leaking gas and downed power lines.

Aftershocks can occur following the main shock of an earthquake. . can cause  additional damage and cause more safety hazards so be prepared for an Aftershock to occur.

Always check yourself and your family members to see if any injuries occurred during the Quake. If any injuries have occurred and medical attention is needed contact emergency medical personnel and if that is not an option you must assess if it is safe to drive to a medical center yourself.

Next if your building has been damaged and there is a potential for it to fall down you must exit the building and be as far away from any potential hazards as possible. Never enter into a damaged building following an earthquake.

If you or your family find yourself trapped within a damaged building following an earthquake always protect your mouth your eyes and your nose from any dust and debris that maybe in the air. If you have your phone send a text message requesting help, if you do not have access to a communication device bang on a wall or use an emergency whistle or Shout to get the attention of rescue workers.

Because the phone lines will be likely heavily and use only utilize your phone for emergency contacts

Once you and your family are safely away from any damage buildings listen for emergency information broadcast and follow all instructions from local emergency Personnel. You can get this information via the TV, the radio, or even over a ham radio device.

For more survival guides and tips read these articles

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