So you have packed your disaster kit, your communications and disaster plan is set and you have made your home as structurally sound as possible. And now you wait.

Most of the emergency preparation is spent on what to do before an earthquake, but people rarely talk about what you should do during and immediately after a disaster. Maybe we are hoping that we will all instinctively know what to do if a disaster strikes, but not everything is so common sense.

Like I have mentioned previously, a disaster will strike when you least expect it. You can hardly expect that you will be at home, so you need to know what to do in all situations.


Drop! Cover! And hold on!

These three steps are the basic principles of what to do during an earthquake. You should quickly drop to the ground, find cover under something extremely sturdy to avoid any falling items from hitting your head, and hold on so you do not move. Stay away from windows or doors. Those parts of any building tend to be the least sturdy and the first to go under extreme pressure. The shards of glass will be extremely damaging.

The old way was to find a doorway to stand under.  But nowadays doorways are not the most structurally sound in a building. You will find better luck hiding under a big, sturdy desk. If you are at work in a big, tall building, get away from the windows and avoid using the elevator.

If the earthquake starts shaking when you are in bed, your first instinct might be to bolt. But stay under your covers and cover your head with your pillow. If you followed your earthquake prep, you should not have any heavy objects hanging on the wall above your bed.

If the earthquake begins while you are outside, get to an open area. This will help you navigate the area and not fall into separated land. Get away from any buildings, cars and power lines, as they may topple and hit you.

After a Quake

If you live near the beach (lucky you), get to higher land as soon as the quake stops. A big earthquake will often trigger a tsunami which is a gigantic wave that will crush the land. Tsunamis tend to hit land higher than any normal wave would, so do not assume you are safe.

After the immediate earthquake, take a quick evaluation of your surroundings. Make sure the area you are in is secure before you begin to move. If you need medical attention, take care of yourself before moving on to help others. And beware of aftershocks. These mini earthquakes erupt shortly after the initial earthquake.

Remember your prepared emergency plans and use them! If you are not injured, start moving to your family’s preplanned meeting place.

Once you have met with your family, be glad that you have survived an earthquake and lived to tell about it.

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