Life is easier for emergency management personnel when citizens know how to take care of themselves during an emergency such as a major earthquake. It is only a matter of time before another big quake hits in the US. Although California and Alaska get the most press, a series of massive earthquakes struck in Missouri in the early 1800s causing the Mississippi River to run backward for a period of time.
Thus, residents of the much of the US need to prepare for what to do in case an earthquake strikes their area. One way to do this is to take part in the Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills that will take place on October 15 in much of the country. (Utah’s will be on April 21, 2016). At least 9.3 million Californians have signed up, and more than 22.9 million around the world will take part in these drills.
At 10:15 AM, participants will react as if there is an earthquake. They are being instructed to drop to the ground and then take cover under a desk or table for at least 60 seconds holding on firmly as if there is an earthquake. It is important to identify places to shelter that are only a few feet away, so that falling debris will not be a threat.
A major factor to increase the chances of coming out of an earthquake unscathed is advance preparation. For instance, all household members should know how to use a fire extinguisher. Having an emergency supply kit is paramount, since people may need to stay in their home or work place for 2-3 days.
Emergency management officials strongly recommend that citizens do a “hazard hunt” to items that would be likely to fall during an earthquake and possibly cause injury. Non-structural items such as bookshelves should be secured to provide a safer environment.
Advanced preparation greatly increases the chance of emerging from an earthquake unscathed, which is a great help for emergency management personnel and other first responders.