Earthquakes are unpredictable and can happen at any time. With the recent increase in the number of earthquakes here in West Texas you may be wondering how to stay safe during the next earthquake. Here are some tips on how to prepare for an earthquake and how to stay safe during one.
1. Identify safe spots in each room of your home.
During an earthquake, you should immediately identify a safe spot in each room of your home. If inside, get under a sturdy piece of furniture such as a heavy desk or file cabinet. If outdoors, avoid tall buildings and trees. Stay away from power lines and broken glass on the ground; they can be very dangerous if they fall during an earthquake.
If you are in bed when an earthquake strikes: protect yourself under a heavy mattress or against an interior wall near the center of the building (not near windows). Avoid exterior walls which may collapse outward onto you and cause serious injury.
2. Practice DROP, COVER and HOLD ON in each safe spot.
Practice DROP, COVER and HOLD ON at least twice a year. Also practice with your family members so everyone knows what to do when an earthquake occurs.
Drills are an important part of being prepared for an earthquake because they help you practice what to do in case of an actual event. You can have your family members practice drop, cover and hold on by having them get under something sturdy (or cushioned) while they say "earthquake!" This will help them remember the correct actions if an earthquake does occur.
3. Learn how to turn off the gas, water and electricity safely.
If you smell gas, leave the area and call your gas company. If there is a water leak, turn off water valves on both sides of the water meter to stop the flow of water. Ensure you shut down all household valves (toilets, sinks, etc.). These could be located inside or outside of your home. Open a faucet on a different side from where you turned off the valve so that no one gets hurt by flying debris when shutting it off. Make sure everything is turned off before opening any doors or windows; this way there will be no pressure buildup in case they were closed before turning anything off!
4. Secure all heavy objects including top-heavy objects such as tall bookcases or filing cabinets so they will not fall over and injure someone during an earthquake.
To do this, there are a few things to consider:
Make sure the heavy object is secured to the wall. If you don't have an anchor system already installed, you can use various kinds of anchors available at home improvement stores that can be used for securing heavy objects—like these screw-in picture hooks from IKEA.
Make sure the heavy object is secured to each other (if it falls over during an earthquake, it may hit other things).
Make sure the heavy object is secured to the floor (if it falls over during an earthquake, it may cause damage).
If possible, find something else nearby that's strong enough and attach one end of your rope/cord/string/etc., then wrap it around both ends of your items until they're securely tied together—this way if one side gets knocked loose by debris falling on them during an earthquake (or them falling over), then at least they'll still be connected!
The best way to prepare for an earthquake is by practicing DROP, COVER and HOLD ON. Knowing how to protect yourself from falling rubble or heavy objects will help you save lives and keep you safe in any type of emergency. As we’ve seen above, there are many simple steps that can be taken before an earthquake strikes, such as securing furniture. But if all else fails, remember that the most important thing is knowing what to do when one hits! For more earthquake safety tips visit https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/earthquakes/during.html