Author: Chris Gaulin
Unlike the weather, earthquakes are a bit more difficult to predict and happen quickly. Prepare for an earthquake by:
1) mitigating some preventable common hazards,
2) having an emergency kit on hand
3) rehearsing what to do if the “big one” does happen.
Secure your stuff: Most injuries from an earthquake are caused by things breaking, collapsing, or falling. You likely have some top-heavy furniture hanging around. Even in a minor earthquake, objects can fall over and cause injury. Protect your pets, friends, and yourself by:
Insurance: While most insurance policies don’t cover earthquakes per se, damage from resultant fire or water damage may be covered. Regardless, you may want to investigate renter’s insurance and speak with a qualified agent. States like California and Washington, where earthquakes are more common, do offer insurance. General information on insurance can be found here.
Emergency Kit: Now that you have those hazards mitigated, here is a list of important items to keep accessible. This kit can be used for most emergencies (hurricane, wicked Nor’easter etc.)
More information on emergency kits and checklists can be found here.
Rehearse: So, your living area is prepared – are you? If you find yourself in an earthquake, there are three steps you should immediately take. 1) Drop, 2) Cover and 3) Hold On.
1. Drop/Lock: Get on the ground. Avoid moving more than a few steps to get somewhere safe.
2. Cover: Protect your head, neck and vital organs by kneeling. If there is a table or sturdy shelter, crawl under it.
3. Hold on: With one hand, secure your shelter while covering your head and neck. If you don’t have a shelter use both hands. Stay down until the shaking stops, and for at least 60 seconds after.
Think you’ve got it? Test your skills in the Beat the Quake Game!
Join with friends and colleagues on October 18, 2018 at 10:18 AM for the Great Northeast Shakeout! At that time, people throughout the country will stop what they’re doing and rehearse Drop-Cover-Hold On! After the drill, spend some time talking with your class or lab group about what hazards exist and anything you can do to stay safe in the event of an actual earthquake.
Christine Regalla is a geology professor in the Earth and Environment Department at Boston University. See what she and her students do to study earthquakes by visiting their website or by following them on Twitter and Instagram (@Rengellia).