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Essential Tips for Earthquake Survival

road cracking due to an earthquake

An earthquake struck New Jersey last week, and I felt it all the way here in Philly. Thankfully, no injuries or structural damage were reported from the 4.8-magnitude earthquake, but the tremors sent ripples of fear across the East Coast, as earthquakes are typically uncommon in this area.

In other parts of the world, earthquakes have proven to be unpredictable and can strike without warning, leaving behind a trail of devastation and chaos. Even minor shaking can cause damage in places that are not accustomed to earthquakes. While it's impossible to predict when an earthquake will occur, and not all of them result in damage, as Solutionarys, we hope to be competent and have the skills to be effective in the event we find ourselves in a dangerous situation.

Being prepared and knowing how to react can make a life-saving difference. In this beginner's guide, we'll explore essential tips and strategies to help you survive an earthquake safely and effectively.

Understanding Earthquakes

Earthquakes are caused by the shifting of tectonic plates beneath the Earth's surface. This movement can result in sudden and violent shaking of the ground, leading to damage to buildings, roads, and other infrastructure. The severity of an earthquake is measured on the Richter scale, which ranges from minor tremors to major earthquakes causing significant destruction.

Before the Earthquake: Preparedness Tips

  1. Create an Emergency Plan

Developing a comprehensive emergency plan for your family is crucial. Identify safe locations in your home, workplace, and community where you can take shelter during an emergency situation, including but not limited to earthquakes. Also, establish an emergency communication plan to stay in touch with family members and loved ones.

  1. Prepare an Emergency Kit

You should always have an emergency kit on hand. Keep one in your home and your car. At a minimum, your emergency kit should contain essential supplies to sustain you and your family for at least 72 hours. Your emergency kit should include:

  • Water

  • Non-perishable food items

  • First aid kit

  • Flashlight with extra batteries

  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio

  • Extra clothing and blankets

  • Personal hygiene items

  • Important documents and cash

  • Whistle to signal for help

  1. Secure Your Home

If you are in a hotspot where earthquakes occur more frequently, you will want to make sure you secure heavy furniture, appliances, and other objects that could fall or topple during an earthquake. Anchor bookcases, shelves, and heavy items to the wall, and ensure that gas appliances are properly secured to prevent gas leaks.

During the Earthquake: Safety Measures

  1. Drop, Cover, and Hold On

If you're indoors when an earthquake strikes, drop to the ground, take cover under a sturdy piece of furniture or against an interior wall, and hold on until the shaking stops. Stay away from windows, glass, and heavy objects that could fall.

  1. Stay Indoors

If you're indoors, stay there until the shaking stops and it's safe to exit the building. Most injuries during earthquakes occur when people try to move or exit the building during the shaking instead of staying put. This is called "sheltering in place."

  1. Avoid Dangerous Areas

Stay away from windows, glass, and exterior walls. If you're outdoors, move to an open area away from buildings, trees, and power lines. If you're driving, pull over to a safe area away from overpasses, bridges, and power lines, and stay inside the vehicle until the shaking stops.

  1. Be Prepared for Aftershocks

Earthquakes are often followed by aftershocks, which can be as damaging as the initial earthquake. Be prepared for aftershocks and follow the same safety measures as you would during the earthquake.

After the Earthquake: Recovery and Safety

  1. Check for Injuries

After the shaking stops, check yourself and others for injuries. Administer first aid for minor injuries and seek medical attention for serious injuries.

  1. Assess Your Surroundings

Inspect your home and surroundings for damage. Check for gas leaks, electrical wiring damage, and structural damage to your home. If you suspect a gas leak, turn off the gas supply and leave the building immediately.

  1. Listen for Updates

Stay tuned to local news and radio stations for updates. Seek guidance regarding safety precautions, evacuation orders, and relief efforts.

  1. Communicate with Loved Ones

Contact your family members and loved ones to let them know you're safe and inform them of your whereabouts. Use text messaging or social media to communicate, as these methods are less likely to overload communication networks.


By following these beginner's tips and strategies, you can increase your chances of knowing what to do and staying safe in the event of an earthquake. Remember, earthquakes are unpredictable, but being prepared and knowing how to react can make a life-saving difference.

Investing time in earthquake preparedness and creating an emergency plan and kit for your family is crucial. Prepare your family to ensure everyone knows what to do during an earthquake. By taking these proactive steps, you can help protect yourself, your family, and your community from the devastating effects of earthquakes. Stay safe and be prepared!


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