Shake, Rattle and Roll: Preparing for an Earthquake

Shake, Rattle and Roll: Preparing for an Earthquake
Posted on 04/02/2019

By CHPD Chief Robby Russo

As a community, we have done a good job of preparing for emergencies, perhaps better than most municipalities. Our community is well organized, has food/medical supplies stored away and are integrated with government resources. With the recent small shakes in the southwest part of the valley, I’ve overheard people asking, “So what are you supposed to do again?” We may need a refresher on what to do in the event of an earthquake. 

Here are some tips if your house starts to shake, rattle and roll without warning. First, remain calm, and follow these safety guidelines:

If you’re at home …

  • Create a safe spot in every room where you will be able to shelter, preferably under a heavy piece of furniture like a table or desk, and follow the drop, cover and hold on adage;
  • Drop down to the floor, flush against an interior wall (avoid exterior walls) and protect your neck and head with your arms. Remain in a crouched position;
  • Do not seek shelter under hanging objects such as mirrors or near unanchored appliances or tall pieces of furniture;
  • Stay away from the windows;
  • Know which doorways are load-bearing and strong enough to protect you in advance of an earthquake occurring;
  • Protect your baby ahead of time by ensuring that cribs, playpens or bassinets are protected with padding and soft siding. Purchase baby furniture that is sturdy and solid enough to remain upright. Anchor it to the wall, and keep the bed away from the windows. You should do this anyway because kids love to climb;
  • If you are in bed when an earthquake hits, stay there and use your pillow to protect your head and neck, provided there is nothing nearby that could fall on you or shatter, like a window;
  • Unless you need emergency help, please don’t call 911. We felt it too and we need to keep the lines clear.

In-Public Tips

  • If you are in a restaurant, store or other public place when an earthquake strikes, panic may ensue. To avoid being trampled, do not race for the exit but rather, quickly determine a safe location to drop and cover;
  • Avoid shelving that holds objects that might go flying, as well as windows and glass doors;
  • If you are at the theater or a sporting event, stay seated and cover your head and neck with your arms;
  • Always use the stairs, never the elevator.

Get training. Take a first-aid class from an organization such as the American Red Cross, American Heart Association, or National Safety Council chapter. Get training on how to use a fire extinguisher. Keep your training current. Training will help you to keep focused and know what to do when an earthquake occurs. I hope you find these tips helpful; stay safe.