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The Fundamentals of Earthquake Safety

Are you prepared for the possibility of an earthquake? Everyone everywhere should learn and practice the fundamentals of earthquake safety. International ShakeOut Day was October 17, but you can schedule earthquake drills anytime.

What to Do During an Earthquake

Earthquakes can range in severity from tiny, hardly perceptible tremors to sudden, intense back-and-forth motions that jerk the ground sideways and send unsecured objects toppling over. It’s during a severe earthquake that your response matters most. Here’s what you should do during a quake, depending on where you are when the tremors hit:

  • Indoors: The consensus among federal, state, and local emergency management experts is that “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” is the best response to reduce the chance of injury during an earthquake. This means dropping to your hands and knees, covering your head with one arm and hand, crawling under a sturdy table or desk, and holding onto the table leg until the shaking stops. If there is nothing to hide under, hunker down next to an interior wall and cover your head with both arms.
  • In bed: Don’t get out of bed. Instead, lie face down to protect your vital organs, protect your head and neck with a pillow, and cover your head with both hands.
  • In a wheelchair: Remain seated, lock the wheels, and cover your head with your hands or a nearby object, such as a book or pillow.
  • Outdoors: Move to a clear area away from power lines, trees, signs, buildings, vehicles, and other hazards. Then, drop, cover, and hold on.
  • While driving: Pull over and engage the parking brake. Avoid stopping under bridges, overpasses, power lines, signs, or other hazards. Stay inside the car until the shaking stops.

What NOT to Do During an Earthquake

If you panic, your instincts may tell you to do something that could actually put you in greater danger. Here’s what to avoid doing during an earthquake:

  • Don’t stand in a doorway: It’s a common misconception that doorframes are the safest place to stand during an earthquake. However, you’re better protected if you huddle under a table.
  • Don’t run outside: Attempting to run when the ground is shifting beneath your feet could be very dangerous. Even if you make it outside, you could be at risk of being hit by falling bricks, broken glass, or other building components.
  • Don’t follow the “triangle of life” advice: This theory states that getting next to a table rather than under it can save your life because of the way debris lands. However, this advice makes too many assumptions about how buildings collapse. You’re more likely to survive the incident if you drop, cover, and hold on.

Understanding the fundamentals of earthquake safety could protect you and your family during a brief but devastating earthquake. Then, DKI Services can help you restore your home. Contact us if you ever need assistance from our catastrophe response team following an earthquake or other disaster.