The West Coast gets a lot of attention when it comes to earthquake preparation, but a whopping 45 US states and territories have at least moderate earthquake risk. February is Earthquake Awareness Month, so now is the perfect time to learn more about earthquakes and how to prepare for them. 

Facts About the New Madrid Seismic Zone 

Most people are familiar with the Cascade region and San Andreas fault on the West Coastbut the New Madrid Seismic Zone is also a significant source of earthquakes in the Midwestern and Southern US. In fact, it’s the most active seismic area east of the Rockies. 

Hundreds of earthquakes occur along the New Madrid Fault Line each year. A majority of them can only be detected by seismographs, but occasionally, people and animals can feel the tremors. The fault line is buried deep beneath hundreds of feet of soft river-deposited soils called alluvium, making it less apparent than the rocky San Andreas in California. 

The largest quake to strike the New Madrid Seismic Zone occurred in 1812, which measured a 7.5 to 8.0 on the Richter scale. Scientists say the area is overdue for a large earthquake of 6.0 magnitude or higher. 

Earthquake Safety 

No matter where you live, you should prepare now for the possibility of an earthquake. 

Before an Earthquake 

  • Make a note of any hazards around your home and take steps to minimize risk during an earthquake. For instance, you may want to strap down your water heater, install latches on your kitchen cabinets, and anchor bookcases to the wall. 
  • Be aware that many homeowner’s insurance plans don’t cover earthquake damage by default. Consider adding this coverage for your peace of mind. 

During an Earthquake 

  • If you’re indoors when you start to feel the earth shake, drop, cover, and hold on. Get beneath a table or other sturdy piece of furniture if you can. Stay away from windows, mirrors, and unsecured furniture that could topple over. 
  • If you’re outside, drop to the ground and stay there until the quaking subsides. 
  • If you’re in a car, pull over and stay in the vehicle. Avoid stopping on bridges and overpasses, and turn on the radio for updates. 

After an Earthquake 

  • Check yourself and your loved ones for injuries. 
  • When the initial shaking stops, wait for 60 seconds. Aftershocks are common within this timeframe, but be aware that they may take minutes, hours, or even days to occur. 
  • Observe your surroundings and check for hazards, such as loose overhead debris or uneven ground. If you smell a gas leak, go outside and move away from the building. Use the stairs rather than the elevator. 

If your area is ever affected by an earthquake, DKI Services can help restore your home. Contact us today to request the restoration services you need.