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Staying Safe during Earthquakes
By the RestorationSOS Educational Staff
When earthquakes strike, it is normally without warning. As much as you prepare, the actual event catches almost everyone by complete surprise, therefore, it is important to know what to do during the actually tremor. The choices you make and the actions you take in those seconds may mean the difference between life and death.
For starters, remember that the initial quake you feel may not be the actual earthquake, but rather what is known as a foreshock, a smaller tremor that sometimes occurs in advance of the actual quake. Once this happens, get to a safe place as rapidly as possible. This can be near a solid interior wall, or under a piece of solid furniture. If there is no shelter, cover your head and face with your arms and crouch in a corner of the building. Remain sheltered and low to the ground until the shaking stops.
Stay clear of windows which my shatter and send glass flying into the room. This also goes for lighting fixtures and tall furniture. If you are in bed when the quake strikes, stay where you are and cover your head with a pillow.
Stay indoors until the shaking stops, and then only go outside when you are absolutely certain that it is safe to do so. Most earthquake-related injuries are the result of people trying to move about during the tremor.
Keep in mind that the electricity may go out during an earthquake; resist the urge to panic. Do not use elevators to try and escape from any building during a quake. Tremors could either disable the elevator or send it into a lethal free fall.
What to do if an Earthquake Occurs While You're Outside
If you are outside when the shaking begins, get to a wide open, uncluttered area. Injuries and fatalities also occur as the result of falling debris or collapsing structures. Rarely is the shaking of the ground a cause of any injury or death.
If you are in a car during the quake, come to a stop free and clear of any bridges, structures, or overpasses. Once the shaking stops, proceed with caution, since roads may have been weakened or even destroyed as a result of the quake.
If you find yourself trapped as a result of the quake, tap on a pipe or a wall to alert others to your presence. Refrain from shouting except as a last resort. Earthquake damage can dislodge dangerous dust and other materials that may be harmful if inhaled.
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