Before the next big earthquake (or other emergency) in this area occurs, there are simple things you can do to prepare and make yourself safer. On Oct. 19, the nation will observe the Great Central U.S. Shakeout, which offers Southeast faculty, staff and students the opportunity to learn how to survive and recover from earthquakes. The Department of Public Safety shares the following earthquake information and safety tips:
Step 1: Secure your space by identifying hazards and securing moveable items.
Step 2: Plan to be safe by creating a disaster plan and deciding how you will communicate in an emergency.
Step 3: Organize disaster supplies in convenient locations.
Step 4: Minimize financial hardship by organizing important documents, strengthening your property, and considering insurance.
You can complete one item a day, one a weekend or one a month. Just remember that earthquakes strike without warning, so you want to complete as many of these items before the shaking starts.
During the next big earthquake, and immediately after, is when your level of preparedness will make a difference in how you and others survive and can respond to emergencies.
When the earth shakes, follow these steps:
DROP where you are, onto your hands and knees. This position protects you from being knocked down and also allows you to stay low and crawl to shelter if nearby.
COVER your head and neck with one arm and hand
- If a sturdy table or desk is nearby, crawl underneath it for shelter
- If no shelter is nearby, crawl next to an interior wall (away from windows)
- Stay on your knees; bend over to protect vital organs
HOLD ON until shaking stops
- Under shelter: hold on to it with one hand; be ready to move with your shelter if it shifts
- No shelter: hold on to your head and neck with both arms and hands
Why Drop, Cover, and Hold On? Earthquake Country Alliance’s special report explains why official rescue teams, emergency preparedness experts, and others recommend “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” as the best way, in most situations, to protect yourself during earthquake shaking.
REMEMBER: It is important to think about what you will do to protect yourself, wherever you are, when the earth begins to shake. What if you are driving, in a theater, in bed, at the beach, etc.?
For more information about “DROP, COVER, and HOLD ON,” and how to protect yourself in specific situations, visit https://www.earthquakecountry.org/step5/.
The moment the ground stops shaking, it is important to take action quickly and safely. Check for injuries and damages that need immediate attention. Use your training in first aid to assist those in need. Look around your environment to identify any new hazards such as leaking gas lines, damage to the building, water or electric lines, or other items that may be dangerous, especially if there are aftershocks. Be prepared to report damage to city or county government.
A number of resources are available: It’s important to take action to prepare now and throughout the year for the types of emergencies that could affect us where we live, work and visit.
Southeast’s Emergency Preparedness Plan can be viewed at http://www.semo.edu/emergency/procedures.html.
Southeast’s emergency communications information can be viewed at http://www.semo.edu/emergency/communication.html.
For more information about the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut as well as resources and safety information about earthquake preparedness, visit http://www.shakeout.org/centralus/.