Moms are generally used to things shaking around the house. A turned over chair and glasses falling are things that are common place. It sometimes feels like we have a little earthquake every day. The irony is we actually do. Real earthquakes monitored by Richter scales versus the mom scale happen daily. The good news is that we hardly ever feel them. But the frequency and strength of earthquakes has increased in recent years.
The powerful 5.9 earthquake felt from Virginia, New York, Martha’s Vineyard to Ohio and Toronto this summer is a reminder that we should know what to do when an earthquakes happen. Government agencies such as FEMA have given us pointers on what to do during and after an Earthquake.
During an Earthquake
- It seems like a natural to run outside during an earthquake. However, many earthquake victims are seriously injured during attempts to get outdoors. Falling debris and flying glass can be deadly. So if you’re indoors, stay put. It’s best to get under a desk or table. It is imperative to stay clear of glass, heavy furniture, appliances and dangerous areas like the kitchen where household items can injure you.
- If you are outside get to the open. Get as far away from buildings, glass, power lines and anything that could fall on you.
- If you are driving try to move the car out of traffic and stop. Avoid parking under or on bridges or overpasses. Keeping the car away from traffic lights, trees, signs, power lines and any other items that could fall onto the vehicle is important.
- Wherever you are covering your head and neck is important.
After an Earthquake
- Checking for fire hazards is priority. If you smell gas or suspect a gas leak open windows but approach and handle windows with caution. If possible shut off the main gas valve and exit the premises. If you have a chimney, check it for damage. Unrepaired damages can lead to fires. Approach and inspect the chimney with caution damaged chimneys can collapse easily. If you smell a burning scent or see sparks turn off your electricity. Approach electrical boxes with caution and avoid water.
- Check for hazardous spills that could be dangerous to your family such as medicine or household cleaning fluids.
- Open cabinets and closets cautiously around the house and be on the lookout for falling objects.
- Be prepared for aftershocks. If you are near the ocean be aware of tsunamis and if you are near mountains be wary of landslides.