Earthquake. The word itself causes a bit of worry, although few people have actually experienced a severe earthquake. The truth is that these natural disasters occur regularly, though most of them are so small they’re barely recognizable. Due to this, people have become complacent about this phenomenon despite its being a real threat. Below we discuss earthquake safety procedures and why they matter, even if you don’t live in an earthquake-prone area.

It’s not possible to prevent an earthquake, so the next best thing we can do is prepare for one. It’s important to look into your region to learn more about the possibility of earthquakes. While there are some places in North America that seem more prone to seismic activity, there are multiple regions where a deadly earthquake can strike. It’s important to remember that most deaths associated with earthquakes don’t happen due to the earthquake itself, but rather damage and inappropriate action as a result of the earthquake, including:

  • Buildings that collapse completely or partially
  • Broken glass
  • Furniture that isn’t fixed to the floor, like couches or filing cabinets
  • Broken gas and water lines
  • Downed power lines
  • Shock or panic

While it seems like earthquakes last forever when you’re experiencing one, most only last a few seconds to just over a minute. It’s important to know what to do in the event you feel an earthquake. If you’re indoors, make your way toward the strongest part of the structure. That’s why many experts will tell you to get beneath a doorway. They’re structurally sound and could help break the fall of objects including drywall or masonry. If you’re not near a doorway, crawl beneath a sound structure like a sturdy dining room table. Choose a space that will provide you with a pocket should the room around you collapse.

If you’re outside when an earthquake strikes, find the most open area possible and stay there. While it may seem like a building structure can help keep you safe, standing alongside a building is one of the most dangerous places during an earthquake. You’ll want to move away from buildings, power lines, and anything else that has the potential to fall. If you’re in a moving car, stop driving immediately and stay inside your vehicle until the tremors stop.

After an earthquake, it’s easy to feel like panicking. Take a few deep breaths to clear your head and remain calm. Many people forget about the aftershocks of an earthquake and will begin to move away from their safe spaces once the initial quaking has ceased. Avoid all stairs and elevators, especially during the first few minutes following the initial disaster. Don’t light matches and never touch your electrical switches, such as those that turn on and off your lights.

Following an earthquake, authorities will likely begin going through affected areas. You should be prepared to help with the trapped and wounded as much as possible. The authorities will clear the area before declaring it safe to enter and exit. Once you’ve been cleared to go, don’t linger by examining the damage. Instead, it’s important to clear the area so that emergency personnel can do their work.

Most people aren’t fully prepared for an earthquake. By knowing what to do in the event of this natural disaster, you can help keep yourself and your family safe