Shake, shake, shake it’s an earthquake! Earthquakes have become as common here as in California. Oklahoma experienced 585 earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or greater in 2014, opposed to the 109 earthquakes of the same magnitude in 2013, according to the Oklahoma Geological Survey. Earthquake safety has become an issue. Unlike experienced Californians we here in Oklahoma, after getting past the initial shock of the ground shaking and moving under our feet, realize a tornado shelter is no protection for an earthquake! So the immediate question asked is, ‘what safety procedures should be followed to prepare for an earthquake?’
National Geographic lists the following tips for safety before an earthquake and also after the shaking begins:
Before an earthquake -
Have an earthquake readiness plan.
Consult a professional to learn how to make your home sturdier, such as bolting bookcases to wall studs, installing strong latches on cupboards, and strapping the water heater to wall studs.
Locate a place in each room of the house that you can go in case of an earthquake. It should be a spot where nothing is likely to fall on you.
Keep a supply of canned food, an up-to-date first aid kit, 3 gallons of water per person, dust masks and goggles, and working battery-operated radio and flashlights.
Know how to turn off your gas and water mains.
During an earthquake –
Drop down; take cover under a desk or table and hold on.
Stay indoors until the shaking stops and you’re sure it’s safe to exit.
Stay away from bookcases or furniture that can fall on you.
Stay away from windows. In a high-rise building, expect the fire alarms and sprinklers to go off during a quake.
If you are in bed, hold on and stay there, protecting your head with a pillow.
If you are outdoors, find a clear spot away from buildings, trees, and power lines. Drop to the ground.
If you are in a car, slow down and drive to a clear place. Stay in the car until the shaking stops.
Many of these suggestions can be applied to businesses as well since many earthquakes happen during the day while we are at work. It might be time-worthy to look around your current location and see what safety risks might be lurking in your own work space. Does your company have an earthquake kit? Is the furniture anchored? Do the cabinets have latches or locks? Do you know where your earthquake safe place is? Having an earthquake readiness plan will answer these questions. You can find additional information on earthquake safety in the work place at http://www.fema.gov/earthquake-safety-work.
So, whether at home or work, earthquakes can be dangerous and it’s up to us to have an earthquake readiness plan in place to help better ensure our safety and the safety of those around us.