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Before and After Earthquakes

How do I prepare for an earthquake?
What should I do during an earthquake?
What should I do after an earthquake?
Should I be concerned about a tsunami if there is an earthquake?

How do I prepare for an earthquake?

As with most disasters, preparedness starts at home with an emergency kit and a plan.

In addition to your personal preparedness, it is recommended you earthquake proof your home by:

  • Anchoring heavy pieces of furniture and appliances in place
  • Placing breakable items on lower shelves or in cupboards
  • Securing picture frames, mirrors and other other wall decor in place and away from beds and couches

More resources for earthquake proofing your home: - Earthquakes
California Office of Emergency Services - Earthquake Preparedness

What should I do during an earthquake?

Drop cover and hold onImmediately Drop to the ground and find Cover under a sturdy desk or table. If none are available cover your head and neck with your arms. You are more likely to be injured by flying or falling objects than you are to be in a building collapse. Hold On to something sturdy until the shaking has stopped.

Do NOT run outside if you are inside — or, run inside if you are outside!

The area near the exterior walls of a building are the most dangerous place to be. Windows, facades and architectural details are often the first parts of the building to collapse. To avoid these dangers stay inside if you are inside and outside if you are outside.

Earthquakes don’t always occur when we’re able to Drop, Cover and Hold On. If you are:

In bed:
Hold on and stay there, protecting your head with a pillow. You are less likely to be injured staying where you are. Broken glass on the floor has caused injury to those who have rolled to the floor or tried to get to doorways.

In a wheelchair:
Lock the wheels once you are in a safe position. If unable to move quickly, stay where you are. Cover your head and neck with your arms.

Move to a clear area if you can safely do so; avoid power lines, trees, signs, buildings, vehicles, and other hazards.

Pull over to the side of the road, stop, and set the parking brake. Avoid overpasses, bridges, power lines, signs and other hazards. Stay inside the vehicle until the shaking is over. If a power line falls on the car, stay inside until a trained person removes the wire.

In a high-rise:
Drop, cover, and hold on. Avoid windows and other hazards. Do not use elevators. Do not be surprised if sprinkler systems or fire alarms activate.

In a stadium or theater:
Stay at your seat and protect your head and neck with your arms. Don't try to leave until the shaking is over. Then walk out slowly watching for anything that could fall in the aftershocks.

Below a dam:
Dams can fail during a major earthquake. Catastrophic failure is unlikely, but if you live downstream from a dam, you should know flood-zone information and have prepared an evacuation plan.

What should I do after an earthquake?

Once the shaking stops,calmly assess yourself and your surroundings before moving. Attend to any injuries you may have sustained. If possible, offer assistance to those in your immediate vicinity. Meet up with your family at the location you pre-designated in your disaster plan. Wait to receive more information from officials. collapsed home after earthquake

If you are trapped, attend to any injuries as best you can. Take care to cover your nose and mouth when breathing to avoid inhaling dust and debris. If you have a cell phone try and use it let someone know your location (remember, it is often easier to call a long distance number during a local disaster than someone with your same area code). If you can’t get out a call due to lines being busy or down, try texting. Texting uses less bandwidth and will usually go through even when a call won’t. If you don’t have a phone, yell, or better, knock on something hard three times every few minutes. Rescuers are trained to listen when searching collapsed buildings.

For more on what to do after an earthquake:
Southern California Earthquake Center

Regardless of whether you were affected directly by the disaster, the very nature of disasters (being overwhelming and unexpected) can cause an intense emotional reaction. Talking about your experience with friends and can be a powerful tool. Additionally, a professional mental health worker can also help you emotionally recover from a disaster.

Find your local emergency information on KSCO 1080 AM, TV channels and social media.

Should I be concerned about a tsunami after an earthquake?

Yes, depending on where you are and how big of an earthquake it was. Get into the habit of COUNTING how long the earthquake lasts. If you count 20 seconds or more of shaking and are in a tsunami hazard zone, evacuate to a safe area — get to high ground — as soon as you can safely walk. Even if you aren't in a tsunami zone, counting is a good idea — it will help to keep you calm.

EVACUATE calmly and immediately if you are in tsunami hazard zone. STAY WHERE YOU ARE if you are not in a tsunami hazard zone. You are not at risk of a tsunami. Unnecessary evacuation will put you at risk and hamper the evacuation of people who really need to get away from danger.

For more on the risk of tsunamis in Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz Local Hazard Mitigation Plan - Earthquakes



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