While there have been no injuries reported for the numerous earthquakes of the last few days, it's a good time to evaluate whether your household is prepared for a larger quake. Below are some tips to consider.
Residents should ready themselves for serious quakes by taking the following precautions:
-- Identify safe spots to ride out temblors at home and work. Examples include underneath sturdy tables or desks, beneath well-supported doorways and inside small rooms or hallways.
-- Establish an out-of-town contact who can coordinate family members' locations and information in case you become separated from loved ones.
-- Make sure everyone in the home knows emergency telephone numbers and addresses.
-- Prepare family disaster-supply kits and keep them in the home and car. The packs should include a flashlight, batteries, a radio, water, a three- day supply of non-perishable food, medicine, a backup set of keys and extra clothing.
-- Take a first-aid class from a local Red Cross chapter, and keep your training current.
-- Eliminate home hazards by bolting bookcases, china cabinets and other tall furniture to wall studs; remove any unsecured items, such as mirrors, from over beds; install strong latches on cupboards; and strap the water heater to wall studs.
During an earthquake, people inside buildings should:
-- Use the ''drop, cover and hold'' technique -- drop to the ground under a table or desk, cover your head and neck with your arm as protection from flying debris, and hold on to a table or desk leg to keep the furniture from sliding away.
-- Avoid taking cover by windows, near heavy furnishings that can tip over or in doorways with metal frames.
If outdoors when a quake strikes, you should:
-- Stay away from buildings, trees, streetlights and power lines.
-- Crouch down and cover your head.
-- If inside a vehicle, park away from the aforementioned objects, avoid bridges and stay inside with your seat belt fastened until the ground stops shaking.
After an earthquake, people in affected areas should:
-- Stay indoors until you hear an official announcement that the quake has ended.
-- Check yourself and others for injuries.
-- Check your home for damage and report any problems to the appropriate authorities.
-- Look for and extinguish any small fires and eliminate potential combustion hazards.
-- Turn off the gas if you think it's leaking (and remember that only a professional should turn it back on).
-- If your home seems unsafe, get everyone outside.
-- Monitor news reports for updates.
-- Protect yourself from further danger by putting on long pants, a long- sleeved shirt, sturdy shoes and work gloves.
-- Use the phone only to report life-threatening emergencies.
-- Expect aftershocks. Each time you feel one, use the drop, cover and hold technique.
For more help or information, you can go to http://www.getready2go.org.