It can strike at any time. Maybe you’re in the middle of your workday or watching your favorite show, or maybe you’re deep in sleep in the middle of the night when you feel the ground below you shift and shake. After a second or two of confusion, you realize what it is – an earthquake.
Earthquakes are a phenomenon that should never be taken lightly. Although we can’t truly predict when exactly one will occur next, there are plenty of actions that we can take to protect ourselves before, during, and after an earthquake happens. Prepare yourself today with the following tips:
Before an Earthquake
Prepare Your Actions – It’s easy to lose your cool once an earthquake strikes, but you can change how you react with practice and mindfulness. Identify the safe places in your home and your work area, and remember that you will need to drop, cover, and hold on when an earthquake hits. Also, know at least two ways that you can exit the building safely after the fact.
Stock Up on Emergency Supplies – This includes a fire extinguisher, first-aid kits, a battery-powered radio, flashlights, and extra batteries at home. You will also want to consider getting a whistle, sturdy shoes, and blankets together. Plan as if resources won’t be available to you for about 24 hours.
Be Smart About Item Placement – Make sure that your bookcases, large file cabinets, and artwork in your home are all anchored to the wall. You will also want to store heavy objects on low shelves as they can fall and cause damage when an earthquake hits.
Make Plans With Your Family – Much like you would for a fire, you will want to determine where you will meet your family after an earthquake hits. Meet somewhere that everyone is familiar with in the event that you are separated in the event of an emergency.
During an Earthquake
Stay Calm – The most important thing you can do when an earthquake hits is to stay as calm as possible. You will be able to make smarter, more rational decisions when you are calm, and others will take notice of your actions and respond to them.
Stay Safe Indoors – If you are indoors when an earthquake happens, stay there. Make sure to move away from the windows and any unsecured tall furniture. Drop, cover, and hold on under a desk, table, or along an interior wall, and cover your head, neck, and face. Stay this way until the shaking subsides.
Stay Safe Outdoors – If you are outdoors when you feel the earth tremble, stay outside. Move to an open area away from falling hazards including trees, power lines, and buildings. Once again, drop to the ground and cover your head and neck until the earthquake finishes.
After an Earthquake
Check For Injuries – Assess yourself and others for any injuries. If you are able, provide first aid to anyone who may need it until the authorities arrive. Also, don’t move injured people unless they are in danger.
Check Water, Gas, and Electric Lines for Damage – If there is any damage to any of these, shut off the valves. If you happen to smell gas, open all of the windows and doors and get out. You will also want to report the smell of gas to the authorities.
Use Extreme Caution – If you have to leave a building, be incredibly careful. Continually assess your surroundings and watch for any falling debris and broken glass. If you do leave, be sure to take your keys, any vital personal items, and emergency supplies, but only do so if it’s safe. Also, never re-enter a damaged building until an all-clear has been given.
Be Smart With Phones – Your cell phone might not be too handy after an earthquake as the systems might be jammed. If there is a life-threatening emergency, make sure to use an actual telephone. Remember to turn on the radio and listen for updates.
Expect Aftershocks – It isn’t uncommon for aftershocks to happen after an earthquake hits. Tremors and aftershocks can occur for days, so don’t be surprised if you feel any minor trembling.
While you can help protect yourself with these crucial tips, earthquakes can strike at any time of the day or night and can cause massive damage in just a few quick seconds. Make sure that you’re totally prepared by calling your agent at Madison Mutual at 1-800-766-MMIC today!