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4/6/2010 - Earthquake Safety Tips
 

Get ready for serious earthquakes by taking the following precautions:

- Identify safe spots to ride out temblors at home and work. Examples include underneath sturdy tables or desks, beneath well-supported doorways and inside small rooms or hallways.

- Establish an out-of-town contact who can coordinate family members' locations and information in case you become separated from loved ones.

- Make sure everyone in the home knows emergency telephone numbers and addresses.

- Prepare family disaster-supply kits and keep them in the home and car. The packs should include a flashlight, batteries, a radio, water, a three-day supply of non-perishable food, medicine, a backup set of keys and extra clothing.

- Take a first-aid class from a local Red Cross chapter, and keep your training current.

- Eliminate home hazards by bolting bookcases, china cabinets and other tall furniture to wall studs; remove any unsecured items, such as mirrors, from over beds; install strong latches on cupboards; and strap the water heater to wall studs.

During an earthquake, people inside buildings should:

- Use the "drop, cover and hold" technique - drop to the ground under a table or desk, cover your head and neck with your arm as protection from flying debris, and hold on to a table or desk leg to keep the furniture from sliding away.

- Avoid taking cover by windows, near heavy furnishings that can tip over or in doorways with metal frames.

If outdoors when a quake strikes, you should:

- Stay away from buildings, trees, streetlights and power lines.

- Crouch down and cover your head.

- If inside a vehicle, park away from the aforementioned objects, avoid bridges and stay inside with your seat belt fastened until the ground stops shaking.

After an earthquake, people in affected areas should:

- Stay indoors until you hear an official announcement that the quake has ended.

- Check yourself and others for injuries.

- Check your home for damage and report any problems to the appropriate authorities.

- Look for and extinguish any small fires and eliminate potential combustion hazards.

- Turn off the gas if you think it's leaking (and remember that only a professional should turn it back on).

- If your home seems unsafe, get everyone outside.

- Monitor news reports for updates.

- Protect yourself from further danger by putting on long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, sturdy shoes and work gloves.

- Use the phone only to report life-threatening emergencies.

- Expect aftershocks. Each time you feel one, use the drop, cover and hold technique.

You can find more earthquake safety tips at:

http://www.fema.gov/hazard/earthquake/


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