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Friday, October 12, 2012

Global earthquake preparedness isn't exactly a big deal here

Earthquakes aren't high on our emergency priority list in the Northeast, for obvious reasons. Dinky ones pop up now and then but so far as I know there has never been a recorded human death from an earthquake in New Hampshire. The USGS page on earthquakes in New Hampshire up through 1975 talks about chimneys falling down now and then, but that's about it.

This explains why we're not one of the regions covered by the upcoming ShakeOut, an Oct. 18 global earthquake-preparedness event. Regions from Guam to southern Italy to Utah and Alaska have events scheduled, but the closest to us is in Maryland.

Still, in case you're wondering, here's what to do in an earthquake:

  • DROP to the ground (before the earthquake drops you!),
  • Take COVER by getting under a sturdy desk or table, and
  • HOLD ON to it until the shaking stops

and here's what NOT to do:

  • DO NOT get in a doorway! An early earthquake photo is a collapsed adobe home with the door frame as the only standing part. From this came our belief that a doorway is the safest place to be during an earthquake. In modern houses and buildings, doorways are no safer, and they do not protect you from flying or falling objects. Get under a table instead!
  • DO NOT run outside! Trying to run in an earthquake is dangerous, as the ground is moving and you can easily fall or be injured by debris or glass. Running outside is especially dangerous, as glass, bricks, or other building components may be falling. You are much safer to stay inside and get under a table.
  • DO NOT believe the so-called "triangle of life"! In recent years, an e-mail has circulated which has recommends potentially life threatening actions , and the source has been discredited by leading experts<