(KTXL) — Before, during and after an earthquake, there are a number of ways you can help protect yourself from the various dangers the shaking creates.
Emergency officials advise that during an earthquake, you should follow the three simple steps of Drop, Cover and Hold:
- Drop: Get on your hands and knees before you involuntarily fall from the shaking and get hurt.
- Cover: Use your hand to cover your head and neck and crawl to some form of cover such as a table or desk. If there no shelter nearby, you should crawl to an interior wall.
- Hold On: Once under shelter, you should hold on to your cover with your free hand and try to stay under your shelter if it moves. If you do not have shelter protect your neck and head with both hands and arms.
A number of organizations including the San Bernardino County government and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warn that advice instructing people to stand in doorways is outdated as a result of changes in the home-building process.
“In modern houses, doorways are no stronger than any other part of the house,” the CDC said on its website. “Doorways do not protect you from the most likely source of injury − falling or flying objects.”
California has an official earthquake warning app, MyShake, that can potentially alert users to an oncoming earthquake tens of seconds in advance and begin the Drop, Cover, and Hold routine.
The app, which was developed by UC Berkeley, USGS ShakeAlert and Cal OES, warns smartphone users near earthquakes when ground sensors detect “significant shaking.”
The website for the state’s official earthquake alert system says that the closer someone is to the earthquake the sooner they will receive the alert and that some may not receive the alert until after the earthquake passes.
The state government notes that millions of Android-brand smartphones come with the earthquake alert technology already included.
The Seven Steps
The Earthquake Country Alliance (ECA) provides seven steps for preparing for and surviving an earthquake.
- Secure Your Space: First ECA suggests moving heavy furniture away from beds and other places where people spend a lot of time. Then ECA recommends securing objects like bookcases and televisions in place to prevent them from being thrown by earthquakes.
- Plan to be Safe: Create a plan that encompasses evacuation plans; reunion plans; an out-of-state contact person’s name and number; the location of your emergency supplies and “other pertinent information.”
- Organize Emergency Supplies: ECA said people should put together bags containing flashlights, shoes, and other useful items and keep the bags under their bed. ECA also suggested putting together car kits containing 3 days’ supplies for evacuations and a home or work kit for sheltering in place.
- Minimize Financial Hardship: The alliance encourages people to gather important documents like copies of identification and copies of insurance cards into a plastic bag. Additionally, the ECA details a number of measures people can take to reinforce their homes against earthquakes and suggests people purchase earthquake insurance.
- Drop, Cover, and Hold On: During an earthquake, people should drop to their knees, get under cover like a table or desk and hold on to their cover with one hand while their other hand covers the back of their head and neck.
- Improve Safety: Once the earthquake has stopped, ECA says those near large bodies of water like large lakes or the ocean should move to higher ground in case there is a tsunami. You should be prepared for aftershocks and be on the lookout for things like fires, gas leaks and downed power lines.
- Reconnect and Restore: ECA advises people not to return to their homes until they are certain there are no gas leaks and that they continue to check for new damages following aftershocks.