Unlike other natural disasters, earthquakes can happen without notice and at any time. Especially in California the phrase, “it is not if but when” is often repeated. And with reason. It is important to stay extra diligent and prepare for this circumstance for yourself and your loved ones, and a good idea to practice earthquake safety in different situations always in California. International ShakeOut Day is always the third Thursday of October and this year it falls on Thursday, October 15.
Here are a few tips for you to keep in mind if you are inside a store during an earthquake:
- First, get into the habit of always assessing a space as soon as you walk in. What is above and around you that could fall during an earthquake? Develop your intuition and judgment about this.
- Drop, find cover, and hold on. Inside a store, these places can offer some protection: a shopping cart, tables, and inside or beneath clothing racks.
- If you cannot find any immediate shelter, crouch down and hold onto your head and neck with both arms.
- If you are a person with disabilities and in a wheelchair and unable to drop to the floor, bend forward and protect your neck and head.
- Move as little as possible and try to make your body a smaller target from falling and moving objects.
- Try to protect your head and torso and bend over to protect your vital organs.
- Stay indoors until the shaking stops and you are sure it is safe to exit.
- Remember not to stand near a doorway, as you will not be protected from falling debris.
- Keep in mind that smoke alarms and sprinkler systems frequently go off in buildings during an earthquake, even if there is no fire.
- If you smell gas, get out of the location and move as far away as possible.
- Before you leave the building, check to make sure there is no debris from the building that could fall on you and avoid cracks on the sidewalk to risk injuries from falling.
Also, keep in mind that if you feel an earthquake, do not run outside. In California, modern buildings are designed to withstand large earthquakes but windows can shatter and fall outside as well as external masonry, so you are at greater risk outside than inside. However, if you do find yourself outside, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Find a clear spot and drop to the ground. Stay there until the shaking stops.
- Try to get as far away from buildings, power lines, trees, and streetlights as possible.
- If you are in a vehicle, pull over to a clear location and stop.
- Stay inside with your seatbelt fastened until the shaking stops.
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