We spent part of the Labor Day Weekend in Wichita visiting the Sedgwick County Zoo. If you haven’t visited it, I highly recommend it. The day started out bright and early as expected with two, two year olds. We were discussing which animal we wanted to see the most when the hotel began to move. I jumped up and went to the window expecting to see high winds and looming clouds from our 7th floor window. All was quiet but the hotel began to move again. I called the front desk and they informed me it was an earthquake, all was fine and if there was an emergency the alarm would go off.
This was a first for me. I was not in Oklahoma in November 2011 when the other big earthquake happened. I thought it would be useful to share the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management’s guidelines on what to do before, during and after an earthquake.
Before an earthquake
- Assemble an emergency preparedness kit for home and your vehicle.
- Have a family emergency plan and identify a safe place to take cover, such as under a sturdy table or desk.
- Teach your family how to “Drop, Cover and Hold” during an earthquake.
- Check for hazards inside or outside your home or office. Heavy objects and falling hazards such as bookcases, hanging picture frames and other items can be dangerous if they are unstable and not anchored securely to a wall or the floor.
- Know emergency telephone numbers.
- Contact your insurance agent to review existing policies and to inquire about earthquake insurance
- Sign up for Earthquake Notifications on the USGS site as well as learn about other products and services they offer.
During an earthquake
- “Drop, Cover and Hold” - DROP to the floor; take COVER under a sturdy table or other piece of furniture. If there isn’t a table or desk near you, seek cover against an interior wall and protect your head and neck with your arms. HOLD ON until the shaking stops.
- Stay away from glass or bookshelves, mirrors or other items that could fall.
- If outside: stand in an open area away from underpasses and overpasses, buildings, trees, telephone, and electrical lines.
- If on the road: drive away from underpasses and overpasses; stop in a safe area; stay in your vehicle.
After an earthquake
- Check for injuries and provide first aid if necessary.
- Do a safety check: check for gas, water, downed power lines and shortages. Turn off appropriate utilities, if you shut off the main gas valve do not turn it back on yourself. Wait for the gas company to check for leaks and make repairs.
- Turn on the radio and listen for instructions on safety or recovery actions.
- Use the telephone for emergencies only.
- When safe follow your family emergency plan.
- Be cautious when opening cabinets.
- Stay away from damaged areas.
- Be prepared for aftershocks.
- If you are able to, log onto the USGS site and fill out a “Did you feel it?” form.