Wednesday, August 24, 2011

When it quakes, we shake!

As we witnessed right here in WNY, and as you can see below, earthquakes can happen! 

Unlike our friends to the West, we aren’t really prepared to deal with them here on the East Coast.  We’ve been hearing stories about people evacuating buildings during the quake or simply not doing anything at all, but there is a protocol that we should all know and follow when we start to shake from a quake!

If indoors
  • Drop to the ground and take cover under something sturdy (I.e. a table or desk) and stay put
  • If there isn't anything for you to take cover under, crouch down in an inside corner of the building and cover your face and head with your arms
  • Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors, walls, and anything that could fall off the wall or ceiling
  • Use a doorway for shelter ONLY if it is in close proximity to you and you know it is strongly supported, load bearing doorway
  • Stay inside until the shaking stops and it is safe to go outside
  • Most injuries occur when people try to change locations during an earthquake, so stay put!
  • Be aware that the electricity may go out, the sprinkler systems may turn on, and the fire alarms may go off
  • Do NOT use the elevator!

If outdoors
  • Stay outside
  • Move AWAY from buildings, streetlights, and utility wires
  • Most injuries occur from falling debris and collapsing walls

If in a moving vehicle
  • Stop as quickly as safety permits and stay in vehicle
  • Try to not stop near or under buildings, trees, overpasses, and utility wires
  • Drive cautiously once the earthquake stops and avoid roads, bridges, and ramps that might have been damaged

If trapped under debris
  • Do not light a match
  • Do not move about or kick up dust
  • Cover your mouth with a handkerchief or clothing
  • To call attention to rescuers:
    • Tap on a pipe or wall
    • Blow a whistle (you should always carry one!)
    • Try to avoid yelling to prevent inhaling dust
For more information on what to do during an earthquake visit FEMA online!

For more information on how to prepare for an earthquake, what to do during and earthquake, and what to do after an earthquake, check on this Red Cross preparedness sheet!

Think you know everything about earthquakes? Take the QuakeQuiz, courtesy of the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management!
Information courtesy of

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