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Earthquakes a destructive force of nature
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Red Cross
 
April 8, 2009

A severe earthquake and the destruction it leaves behind can be one of the most destructive forces unleashed by nature.&

Earthquakes strike swiftly and unexpectedly.  They can occur day or night.  If one hits an area which is heavily populated, a quake can result in fatalities, injuries, and widespread property damage.

The American Red Cross offers the following information to keep you and your loved ones safe should an earthquake hit your area:

Prepare a home earthquake plan

  • Choose a safe place in every room--under a sturdy table or desk or against an inside wall where nothing can fall on you.
  • Practice DROP, COVER AND HOLD ON at least twice a year. Drop under a sturdy desk or table, hold on, and protect your eyes by pressing your face against your arm. If there's no table or desk nearby, sit on the floor against an interior wall away from windows, bookcases, or tall furniture that could fall on you. Teach children to DROP, COVER, AND HOLD ON!
  • Choose an out-of-town family contact.

Eliminate hazards

  • Bolt bookcases, china cabinets and other tall furniture to wall studs.
  • Install strong latches on cupboards.
  • Strap the water heater to wall studs.

When the shaking begins

  • DROP, COVER, AND HOLD ON! Move only a few steps to a nearby safe place. Stay indoors until the shaking stops and you're sure it's safe to exit. Stay away from windows. In a high-rise building, expect the fire alarms and sprinklers to go off during a quake.
  • If you are in bed, hold on and stay there, protecting your head with a pillow.
  • If you are outdoors, find a clear spot away from buildings, trees, and power lines. Drop to the ground.
  • If you are in a car, slow down and drive to a clear place (as described above). Stay in the car until the shaking stops.

When the shaking stops

  • Check yourself for injuries. Protect yourself from further danger by putting on long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, sturdy shoes, and work gloves.
  • Check others for injuries. Give first aid for serious injuries.
  • Look for and extinguish small fires. Eliminate fire hazards. Turn off the gas if you smell gas or think it's leaking. (Remember, only a professional should turn it back on.)
  • Listen to the radio for instructions.
  • Expect aftershocks. Each time you feel one, DROP, COVER, AND HOLD ON!
  • Inspect your home for damage. Get everyone out if your home is unsafe.
  • Use the telephone only to report life-threatening emergencies.

For more information on earthquake safety, or other preparedness tips, check out the Preparedness section of RedCross.org .

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and counsels victims of disasters; provides nearly half of the nation's blood supply; teaches lifesaving skills; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its humanitarian mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at www.redcrosschat.org.


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