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Earthquake Preparedness


A little earthquake preparedness can have you ready for the thousands of earthquakes are registered each year.  The majority of them are minor.  Although all regions can be affected, the West is the region most at risk for earthquakes of large magnitude.  In the last century, at least nine earthquakes of magnitude 7.0 or greater on the Richter scale were registered in that region, some causing extensive damage.  Even an earthquake of magnitude 6.0 on the Richter scale can cause significant damage in urbanized areas.  In fact, of all the natural disasters that can occur in our country, the one that would likely be most destructive would be a big earthquake in a major city. 


Quick Facts About Earthquakes and Preparedness
  • The earth’s crust is formed from numerous segments, large and small, called tectonic plates.  These plates are constantly moving at a very slow rate and can cause small tremors and earthquakes. 
  • Shallow cracks may form as a result of a landslide or other land disturbances. 
  • Buildings do not always necessarily collapse. 
  • It is impossible to predict an earthquake, so... prepared. 

What To Expect During an Earthquake


Earthquakes of Small or Medium Magnitude
  • They last only a few seconds and don’t usually pose too much of a danger. 
  • Sometimes, certain ceilings will shake and some objects may be slightly shaken.
  • If you are outside, you may feel a slight trembling beneath your feet.
  • If you are near the epicenter of the earthquake, you may hear a loud bang followed by the ground shaking.
Earthquakes of Large Magnitude
  • They may last several minutes and constitute a natural disaster if the epicenter is in the proximity of a densely populated area or is of a magnitude sufficiently large for that region.
  • The floor or ground will move, possibly violently.
  • Regardless of your proximity to the epicenter of the earthquake, you’ll likely feel shaking followed by a rocking motion, as if you were at sea.
  • If you are located away from the epicenter, you may see buildings sway or hear a roaring sound.
  • You could feel dizzy or incapable of walking during the earthquake.
  • If you live in a high-rise building, you’ll feel more swaying but less shaking than a lower, ground level building.  Lower floors will shake more (comparable to single-family homes) and upper floors will shake less but sway more.
    • Furniture and other unattached objects could tip over or slide across the floor.
    • Unsecured light fixtures and ceiling panels could fall.
    • Windows could shatter.
    • Fire alarms or sprinkler systems could go off.
    • There may be power outages.
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