Earthquake Safety Tips

There is really no place to be completely safe in an earthquake.  Inside, things fall, walls and roofs can cave in and there can be gas leaks and electrical shorts, resulting in an explosion or fire.  Outside, walls or trees can fall over, tiles can fall off of roofs and the ground can open up and swallow you or your home.  In spite of the many dangers, there are some things you need to learn about keeping safe in an earthquake.

Have a Plan

The most important thing you can do to keep yourself and your family safe is to have a plan.  Sit down with your family, and determine the steps each one is to take if there is an earthquake.  Practice your plan so that it becomes second nature with each member of the family.  Make sure to designate a place to meet when the shaking stops just in case you are not together at the time of the earthquake or you get separated during the quake.

The Safest Place to Be

The best place to be in an earthquake is in a doorway.  You can brace yourself within the frame to keep from falling.  Walls or ceilings will fall away from you if they happen to come down.  If you can’t get in a doorway and things are falling, get under a sturdy table or desk.  That will at least keep you from getting hit.

If you are outside when the earthquake begins, get out into the center of an open area.  Sit down on the ground, and place your head on your bended knees and cover the back of your head with your arms and hands.  Stay calm.

Places to Stay Away From

*Get away from walls and fences as quickly as you can.  Either of these things may fall over, and you can be crushed to death beneath them.

*Stay away from trees.  These may fall or branches may break off.

*Stay away from power lines.  In an earthquake these may be stretched to the limit and snap, causing injury or death.

After the Shaking Stops

Once the shaking is over, immediately turn off the gas and electricity in your home.  This will prevent the possibility of an explosion or a fire.  These should not be turned back on until they have been carefully checked to make sure everything is in good shape.

If you live near the coast, get to high ground as quickly as possible, and stay there for several days.  There is always the possibility of a tsunami even when the radio is saying there will not be one.  Many people died in Chile’s February 27, 2010, earthquake because they believed the radio instead of getting to higher ground.  The three waves that followed caught them totally unaware.

Set up a tent or make a shelter so you can sleep outside.  There will be continual tremors after the major earthquake, and you will be safer away from inside walls and the roof of your home.  You will, also, be able to rest better at night, because you won’t have to jump out of bed each time the house shakes.

In an earthquake, always remember to stay calm, don’t take off running, and think before you act.  Although there is no totally safe place to be, there are things you can do that will help make you safer.  By following these suggestions for keeping safe in an earthquake, you will be as safe as it is possible for you to be.