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What to do before, during, and after an earthquake

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If you live in California or Alaska, you are more likely to experience an earthquake than most other Americans. Geographically speaking, earthquakes aren't an equal opportunity hazard, but history shows that they can strike in many places.

Before it happens: Californians and others may want to have a home inspection to determine if a home is likely to withstand a medium-sized shake. Some older homes benefit from being bolted to the foundation and installation of posts and wall reinforcements. Decide whether earthquake insurance is right for you.

Discuss earthquakes with your family so each person knows what to do. And tell babysitters and caregivers about your plan. Know how to operate a fire extinguisher.

Pick "safe places" in each room. They could be under a sturdy table or desk or against a wall away from windows, bookcases, or tall furniture that could fall.

Practice drop, cover, and hold-on in each safe place. Drop under a desk or table, hold on, and protect your eyes by pressing your face against your arm. Practicing will make these actions automatic.

During a quake: Get to your safe place, hold on, cover up, and stay until shaking stops.

If you are outside in an earthquake, stay outside. Move away from buildings, trees, street lights, and power lines that could fall. Crouch down and cover your head. Many injuries occur within 10 feet of a building as bricks and other materials fall.

After the quake: Check to see if you are hurt, then see if others need help. Move carefully around things that have fallen or broken, and be prepared for aftershocks which may follow.

Watch out for fire. Have a wrench handy to turn off the gas supply.

If you must leave a building, take the stairs, not the elevator.

Long Island Safety Articles > What to do before, during, and after an earthquake

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