Earthquakes!

Earthquake

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“Earthquakes are caused by shifting tectonic plates and subterranean pressure and heat that has been trapped in the earth since the planet was formed”(Courtley, 2012). Earthquakes have shifted all of the continents to where they are today. They have carved out rivers and mountains as well.

Preparedness: falling debris is the greatest cause of death and injury during an earthquake. Make sure things like bookshelves are bracketed to the wall. Remove bigger items from shelves and place them on the floor. Put a block or something in front of appliances to stop them from rolling forward. Strap down your water heater and remove pictures or mirrors hanging near beds. Periodically practice drills with your entire family. Mid-level rooms may be a good place to have a safe room. Never take an elevator in the case of an earthquake, always take the stairs.

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What to do in an earthquake:

If you are outdoors: go to a clearning, and away from buildings, poles, and overhead power lines, The safest distance form a building is three times to height of the building. Pay close attention to nearby rocks, trees, and boulders.

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If you are in a vehicle:

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Stop your car as soon as possible. Try and make sure you are away from buildings, highway ramps, and utility poles. Attempt to drive off elevates roads or bridges before stopping. Get low and as far away from the interior roof in case something crashes down onto the car. If you are in a multilevel parking facility or garage, get out and crouch down next to the vehicle.

If you are inside:

Stay inside. If you try to exit after the earthquake has already begun, the risk of injury or death from falling glass or debris is greater. There are two methods when you are inside:

Drop, cover and hold on: Find a piece of sturdy furniture and get under it. Cover your head with your arms and hold on.

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Triangle of life: Position yourself next to a sturdy piece of furniture so that if a wall collapses if will create and crawl space. Stay put until the shaking stops. It rarely lasts longer than a minute.

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Aftermath:

If you were at home or apartment, get up and go outside immediately. The aftershock can bring the structure down.

If you live in a single-family house, make sure gas lines are closed at the main and turn off electrical breaker. Never attempt to reenter a building after an earthquake.

Aftershocks can continue for days after the initial earthquake and frequently do more damage.

  • Avoid entering structures without approval
  • Sleep outdoors; make shelter in a wide-open area.
  • If living in a coastal region, get to high ground in cause of a tidal wave.
  • Avoid bridges, overpasses and evaluated walkways.
  • Watch out for downed power lines.

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If you are buried in rubble:

  1. Try to cover your nose and mouth with cloth or part of your shirt.
  2. Call out to let someone know you are there, but don’t waste too much time or energy doing this.
  3. If you can move, look for light and slowly crawl toward it.
  4. If you cant move, don’t waste too much of your energy yelling. Find something you can tap or bang on. You can always tap “SOS”: three short taps, three long taps, and three short taps. 

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Courtley, C. (2012). SEAL survival guide: A Navy SEAL’s secrets to surviving any disaster. New York: Gallery Books.

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