Content Inside: Be Red Cross Ready An earthquake is a sudden, rapid shaking of the earth caused by the breaking and shifting of rock beneath the earth's surface. Earthquakes strike suddenly, without warning, and they can occur at any time of the year, day or night. Forty-five states and territories in the United States are at moderate to very high risk of earthquakes, and they are located in every region of the country. Earthquake Safety Checklist � Contact your local emergency management office, local American Red Cross chapter, state geological survey or department of natural resources. � Mobile homes and homes not attached to their foundations are at particular risk during an earthquake. � Buildings with foundations resting on landfill and other unstable soils are at increased risk of damage. Are you at increased risk from earthquakes? Did you know? Doorways are no stronger than any other part of the structure. During an earthquake, get under a sturdy piece of furniture and hold on. This will provide some protection from falling objects that can injure you during an earthquake. How can I prepare? What should I do during an earthquake? What do I do after an earthquake? � Become aware of fire evacuation and earthquake plans for all of the buildings you occupy regularly. If you are inside when the shaking starts ... � Make sure your home is securely anchored to its foundation. � Keep a flashlight and sturdy shoes by each person's bed. � Practice drop, cover and hold on in each safe place. If you do not have sturdy furniture to hold on to, sit on the floor next to an interior wall and cover your head and neck with your arms. � Pick safe places in each room of your home, workplace and/or school. A safe place could be under a piece of furniture or against an interior wall away from windows, bookcases or tall furniture that could fall on you. � Drop, cover and hold on. Move as little as possible. � If you are in bed, stay there, curl up and hold on. Protect your head with a pillow. � After an earthquake, the disaster may continue. Expect and prepare for potential aftershocks, landslides or even a tsunami. Tsunamis are often generated by earthquakes. � Each time you feel an aftershock, drop, cover and hold on. Aftershocks frequently occur minutes, days, weeks and even months following an earthquake. � Stay away from windows to avoid being injured by shattered glass. � Brace overhead light fixtures. � Hang heavy items, such as pictures and mirrors, away from beds, couches and anywhere people sleep or sit. � Bolt bookcases, china cabinets and other tall furniture to wall studs. � Bolt and brace water heaters and gas appliances to wall studs. � Be aware that fire alarms and sprinkler systems frequently go off in buildings during an earthquake, even if there is no fire. If you are outside when the shaking starts ... � Stay indoors until the shaking stops and you are sure it is safe to exit. If you must leave the building after the shaking stops, use stairs rather than an elevator in case there are aftershocks, power outages or other damage. � Check yourself for injuries and get first aid, if necessary, before helping injured or trapped persons. � Put on long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, sturdy shoes and work gloves to protect against injury from broken objects. � Learn how to shut off the gas valves in your home and keep a wrench handy for that purpose. � Install strong latches or bolts on cabinets. Large or heavy items should be closest to the floor. � Keep and maintain an emergency supplies kit in an easy-to-access location. � Learn about your area's seismic building standards and land use codes before you begin new construction. � If you are in a mountainous area or near unstable slopes or cliffs, be alert for falling rocks and other debris. Landslides are often triggered by earthquakes. � If a power line falls on your vehicle, do not get out. Wait for assistance. � If you are in a vehicle, pull over to a clear location and stop. Avoid bridges, overpasses and power lines if possible. Stay inside with your seatbelt fastened until the shaking stops. Then, drive carefully, avoiding bridges and ramps that may have been damaged. � Find a clear spot and drop to the ground. Stay there until the shaking stops (away from buildings, power lines, trees, streetlights). � Clean up spilled medications, bleach, gasoline or other flammable liquids immediately. � Look for and extinguish small fires. Fire is the most common hazard after an earthquake. � Check the telephones in your home or workplace to see if you can get a dial tone. Make brief calls to report life-threatening emergencies. � Listen to a portable, battery-operated or hand-crank radio for updated emergency information and instructions. � Look quickly for damage in and around your home and get everyone out if your home is unsafe. � Open closet and cabinet doors carefully as contents may have shifted. � Help people who require special assistance, such as infants, children and the elderly or disabled. � Watch out for fallen power lines or broken gas lines and stay out of damaged areas. � Keep animals under your direct control. � Stay out of damaged buildings. If your community experiences an earthquake, or any disaster, register on the American Red Cross Safe and Well Web site available through RedCross.org to let your family and friends know about your welfare. If you don't have Internet access, call 1-866-GET-INFO to register yourself and your family. Let Your Family Know You're Safe � Be careful when driving after an earthquake and anticipate traffic light outages. � If you were away from home, return only when authorities say it is safe to do so. Use extreme caution and examine walls, floors, doors, staircases and windows to check for damage. For more information on disaster and emergency preparedness, visit RedCross.org. Copyright � 2009 by the American National Red Cross | Stock No. 658515
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