With the recent devastating earthquakes and tsunami in Japan, we’re reminded just how catastrophic the sudden shaking of the Earth can be. This is why the American Red Cross has compiled some helpful hints to keep you prepared in case you’re ever faced with an earthquake while home here in WNY or visiting friends in California or traveling through Europe.
Most Americans think California and the West Coast are the most susceptible areas in the United States for an earthquake. However, the majority of states and territories in every region of the country, including WNY, are at moderate to very high risk for an earthquake to occur.
|Photo courtesty of Associated Press/Sandro Perozzi|
Here are some important steps that you can take to prepare for an earthquake:
· Know the fire evacuation and earthquake plans for any building you occupy regularly.
· Pick safe places in each room of your home, place of employment or school, under a piece of furniture or against an interior wall.
· Keep a flashlight and sturdy shoes by each person’s bed.
· Make sure your home is securely anchored to its foundation.
· Bolt and brace water heaters, gas appliances, bookcases, china cabinets and other tall furniture to wall studs.
· Brace overhead light fixtures.
· Install strong latches or bolts on cabinets. Large or heavy items should be closest to the floor.
Here are some important steps that you can take during an earthquake:
· Drop, cover and hold on. Move as little as possible.
· If you are in bed, stay there, curl up and hold on. Protect your head with a pillow.
· Stay away from windows to avoid being injured by shattered glass.
· Be aware that fire alarms and sprinkler systems frequently go off in buildings during an earthquake, even if there is no fire.
If you are outside when the shaking starts:
· Find a clear spot away from buildings, power lines, trees and streetlights and drop to the ground. Stay there until the shaking stops.
· If a power line falls on your vehicle, do not get out. Wait for assistance.
|Photo courtesy of The Telegraph|
· Put on long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, sturdy shoes and work gloves to protect against injury from broken objects.
· Look quickly for damage in and around your home and get everyone out if your home is unsafe.
If you were away from home, return only when authorities say it is safe to do so.