Earthquake! 5 Ways to Stay Safe

hiding under tableEven though I was a resident of Los Angeles for nine years -- and experienced an earthquake or 10 during my stint there -- yesterday's East Coast earthquake still freaked me out. No, sanctimonious West Coasters, it wasn't as scary as yours, but a shaking building is a shaking building.

So, instead of replaying the anxiety-ridden moment over and over again in my mind, as I do with most anxiety-ridden moments, I decided to take the healthy approach and figure out what the hell I'm supposed to do during an earthquake.


Tuck under something. If indoors, FEMA advises you to take cover. Crouch under a sturdy table or other durable piece of furniture until the shaking stops. If there isn’t anything near you, cover your face and head with your arms and crouch in an inside corner of the building. Also, don't go near glass, windows, outside doors and walls, or anything that could fall, such as lighting fixtures or bookshelves.

Stay put. Research has shown that the majority of earthquake injuries occur when people inside buildings are attempting to move to a different location inside the building or are trying to make a run for outside. (If you simply can't heed this advice, do NOT use elevators.)

If outdoors, get into an open area. According to the U.S.Geological Survey (and common sense), you should keep away from trees, buildings, walls, and of course, power lines. If driving, pull over to the side of the road, avoid overpasses, and, again, power lines. Stay inside your car until the shaking is over.

If in a crowded place, do not rush for the door. Because everyone else will have the same idea. Simply step away from display shelves containing objects that may fall, and take cover, shielding your head and face from falling debris and glass.

Get a pet. Research (and, again, experience) shows that animals can sense earthquakes before humans. Seismologists think animals sense an electrical signal generated by the movement of underground rocks before an earthquake. Or they might sense early, weak shocks that humans can't feel. So, there you have it. The perfect excuse to get a pet: Your safety depends on it.

What other tips do you know of?


Image via jennzebel/Flickr

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