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Earthquakes

Earthquakes are one of the most destructive and unpredictable phenomena of nature. While many areas of the world are more susceptible than others, earthquake potential exists all over the world. Review the following information to assist you with your earthquake planning. Remember a key element of your planning should be the collection of specific survival equipment and critical survival supplies in an emergency kit. While earthquakes may be your primary concern, preparation for other hazards should also be considered in your emergency planning process.


Seismic Monitor allows you to monitor global earthquakes in near real-time, visit seismic stations around the world, and search the web for earthquake or region-related information.

Check the Seismic Monitor Info Chart - Click Here!

Familiarize yourself with these terms to help identify an earthquake hazard.
  • Earthquake - A sudden slipping or movement of a portion of the earth's crust, accompanied and followed by a series of vibrations.
  • Aftershock - An earthquake of similar or lesser intensity that follows the main earthquake.
  • Fault - The fracture across which displacements has occurred during an earthquake. The slippage may range from less than an inch to more than 10 yards in a severe earthquake.
  • Epicenter - The place on the earth's surface directly above the point on the fault where the earthquake rupture began. Once fault slippage begins, it expands along the fault during the earthquake and can extend hundreds of miles before slipping.
  • Seismic Waves - Vibrations that travel outward from the earthquake fault at speeds of several miles per second. Although fault slippage directly under a structure can cause considerable damage, the vibrations of seismic waves cause most of the destruction during earthquakes.
  • Magnitude - The amount of energy released during an earthquake, which is computed from the amplitude of the seismic waves. A magnitude of 7.0 on the Richter Scale indicates an extremely strong earthquake. Each whole number on the scale represents an increase of about 30 times more energy released than the previous whole number represents.

Your earthquake preparedness planning should address the following scenarios and your survival gear and survival supplies should support you during all potential scenarios.

During an earthquake if you are:

  • Indoors:
    • Take cover under a sturdy desk, table or bench or against an inside wall or doorway that is load bearing.
    • Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls and anything that could fall.
    • If you are sleeping, generally stay in bed and cover your head with a pillow. If your bed is under a heavy light fixture or you have a large mirror or painting over your headboard, move to the nearest safe place.
    • Stay inside until the shaking stops. Most injuries during an earthquake occur when people are entering or exiting a structure.
    • Be aware that the electricity may go out or sprinkler systems and alarms may go off.
    • Do not use elevators.
  • Outdoors
    • Stay there and move away from buildings, streetlights, and overhead utility wires.
  • In a moving vehicle:
    • Stop as quickly as safety permits and stay in the vehicle. Avoid stopping near or under buildings, trees, overpasses or overhead utility wires.
    • Proceed cautiously once the earthquake has stopped keeping an eye out for road damage and obstructions.
  • Trapped under debris:
    • Do not light a match for light.
    • Do not move about or kick up dust.
    • Cover your mouth with a handkerchief or clothing to protect particulate inhalation.
    • Tap on a pipe or wall so rescuers can locate you. Use a whistle if one is available or shout for help as a last resort. Use a repetitive set of three taps or whistles followed by a pause.

 



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