New at Rosetta Stones: Earthquake Safety Tips

Funny thing is, I’d been looking up real safety tips for surviving earthquakes when I was fact-checking our Christianists texts on the subject. And I learned that I had a lot of wrong-headed ideas. In light of the Napa earthquake that went on today, I figured I’d share those tips so that folks in seismically active areas can polish up on their earthquake survival.

Here’s the takeaway lesson, although you should read the whole thing so you know what to do before, during, and after:

Image shows the three steps essential to staying safe in an earthquake: drop, get under a sturdy piece of furniture, hold on until the shaking's over.
Excellent advice from the Great California ShakeOut. Click the image to visit their page and sign up for the drill.
New at Rosetta Stones: Earthquake Safety Tips
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6 thoughts on “New at Rosetta Stones: Earthquake Safety Tips

  1. 1

    Is the desk supposed to help make your body identifiable if the whole building falls on you?

    I’m glad I don’t live in a fault, fire, or flood zone. But then, I planned it that way.

  2. 2

    Is the desk supposed to help make your body identifiable if the whole building falls on you?

    Or provide you an air pocket, where you can stay alive until help comes.

    I’m glad I don’t live in a fault, fire, or flood zone. But then, I planned it that way.

    May I inquire as to your general vicinity? I’m always happy that I don’t live where there are hurricanes or tornadoes, and my place is sited so as to not have any real concern from floods or tsunamis. Earthquakes, however are a real risk. And I’m currently sitting in a mobile home propped up on blocks, not even tied to the ground. I really need to do something about that.
    I was at work for the 2001 Nisqually earthquake. It was south of Seattle and I was north, but it was pretty significant. I found myself standing by my desk watching dust filter out of the ceiling. Then I realized all my co-workers were UNDER their desks, and that they had the correct idea. We then had to evacuate the building. I never liked that evac route, which took us down a couple flights of stairs then then out onto a terrace with four stories of glass overhead. The building, which was quite new, sustained no damage but some of my co-workers at another location weren’t even allowed back in for personal property and company records until a month or so later, and then only for 1/2 hour. After which their building was bulldozed.

  3. 4

    A couple of other things, know where the water and gas and electric shutoffs in the house are. If you suspect a leak, turn them off (a plumber will be needed to turn the gas on..) If you notice there are often delays until gas causes a fire, and if you can turn it off in the house, its a win. After the gas consider the master breaker on the electric, even if the power is off to minimize possible surges in the recovery process.

  4. 5

    If your house has a gas supply, either PoCo or bottled, consider having an automatic (seismic) gas cut-off valve installed. Some jurisdictions require them to be installed for all new construction, and a few localities have required retrofitting them into older buildings. In many localities the simplest and easiest source of information on seismic gas cut-offs, and whole lot of other information, is the local fire department. Most have a PR or community relations office that specializes in keeping people informed and getting them in touch with officials and/or contractors that can advise or install safety devices.

    Many fire departments will arrange a courtesy inspection and offer suggestions as to how to make a building safer. Little things like anchoring book cases and water heaters to the wall, keeping them from falling on anyone, can go a long way toward preventing casualties in an earthquake. They can also offer a fire department registration that will link your address to any special requirements like elderly or disabled people present who may need oxygen or ventilator and/or any pets.

    I had a neighbor some years ago that had their three dogs saved, the firemen went in the burning building after them, because the address had a listing of how many dogs were present and where they normally were. The house was a total loss but the dogs were only singed around the edges because the fire department knew about them ahead of time. For the older couple the dogs were their kids.

  5. 6

    May I inquire as to your general vicinity?

    I live on a mountain-top in the mountains near Clearfield, PA. It’s nice and breezy year round and not too hot, though winters have been known to be nasty (though nothing like Fargo nasty)… The ground here is good and solid, and doesn’t jiggle around a lot, which is nice.

    When I bought my house the lady from the bank in Clearfield asked me if I was going to get flood insurance, and I laughed. Because if I flood out, Clearfield will have bigger problems since I’m 1200 feet higher than they are…

    My house is an 1805 timber-frame with a hand-cut limestone block foundation; it’s pretty impressive. If something horrendous was coming at me I’d run into the basement and sit in one of the corners and hope I’d picked the correct one.

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