Feel Safe and Prepare: Seismic Safety at Home | Local


There is no such thing as “earthquake proof”, but we can reduce our risk through mitigation. Consider purchasing earthquake insurance to protect your financial investments in your home and other personal assets. If possible, also renovate your home to be safer during an earthquake by improving the structure. These can range from small projects such as attaching water heaters and anchoring bridges and carports, to larger projects that may require the help of a contractor or engineer, such as modernizing masonry chimneys and reinforcing stone or unreinforced masonry foundations.

The best way to reduce injury in an earthquake is to “Drop, Cover and Hold On”. Get on all fours if possible, cover your head and neck with your hands or while moving under furniture, and hold until the shaking stops. Don’t run outside, instead, stay put until the shaking has stopped. If you are outside when an event occurs, stay away from the exterior of the building, power lines, trees, and other hazards that could potentially break or fall. Once the shaking has stopped, stay in the building if there is no damage observed or evacuate if there are signs of damage. Check and treat injuries if trained, check for other hazards (shut off gas and check for fires), and prepare for aftershocks.

Experiencing an earthquake firsthand can also be emotionally overwhelming. Preparing for and educating yourself about earthquakes before an earthquake happens will help you stay calm and safe during and after an event. Getting ready doesn’t happen overnight. Prepare yourself, your home, and your community as you discover new resources and tools. For more details on preparation, protection, survival, response, recovery and repair, search “FEMA P-530” online.

Stefanie Schulze is a graduate research assistant in the School of Civil and Construction Engineering at Oregon State University. Erica C. Fischer is an Assistant Professor in the School of Civil and Construction Engineering at Oregon State University.

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