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Earthquake Tips: Are you ready?

With the recent earthquakes in Southern California, we are reminded that here in the Pacific Northwest, an earthquake, let alone the earthquake of all earthquakes, could hit at any time. We can’t control when and where we will be when it hits, but we can control how prepared we are. Read on for what to do in preparation, during, and after a quake strikes.

BEFORE  

  • Secure. Take the time to secure large furniture against walls, such as TV’s, dressers, cabinets, along with objects that hang on walls.  Store heavy and fragile objects on lower shelves. 
  • Practice. Rehearse “drop, cover, and hold on” with your family and coworkers. Drop to your hands and knees, cover your neck with your arms. Crawl only as far as you need to reach cover from falling materials. Hold onto any sturdy furniture until the shaking stops. 
  • Communicate. Create a family communications plan that has an out-of-state contact. Plan where to meet if you get separated. 
  • Prepare. Put together a supply kit that has enough food and water for at least three days, a flashlight, a fire extinguisher, and a whistle. Consider each person’s specific needs, including medications, care items for babies and small children, or pet care items. Include extra batteries and charging devices for phones. 
  • Protect. Consider getting an earthquake insurance policy. Standard homeowner’s insurance does not cover earthquake damage.  
  • Inspect. Is your home’s foundation in good shape? Correct any structural issues now to avoid a collapse in the event of an earthquake.

DURING 

  • “Drop, cover, and hold on” as you practiced above. 
  • If in bed, stay there and cover your head and neck with a pillow. 
  • If inside, stay there until shaking stops. Do not run outside. 
  • If in a vehicle, stop in a clear area that is away from buildings, trees, overpasses, underpasses, or utility wires. 
  • If you are in a high-rise building, expect fire alarms and sprinklers to go off. Do not use elevators. 
  • If near slopes, cliffs, or mountains, be alert for falling rocks and landslides.

AFTER 

  • Expect aftershocks. 
  • Check yourself for injuries, and then help others if able. 
  • If in a damaged building, go outside and quickly move away from the building.  
  • Do not enter damaged buildings. 
  • If you are trapped, cover your mouth. Send a text, bang on a pipe or wall, or blow a whistle to call for help instead of shouting. 
  • If you are in an area that may experience tsunamis, go inland or to higher ground as soon as shaking stops. 
  • Save phone calls for emergencies. 
  • Once safe, monitor local news reports via battery-operated radio, TV, social media, and cell phone text alerts for emergency information and instructions.  
  • When it comes time to clean-up, wear protective clothing, including a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, work gloves, and sturdy, thick-soled shoes during clean-up. Do not attempt to remove heavy debris by yourself. 

For more information, visit https://www.ready.gov/earthquakes. There’s no better time than now to prepare!