Did you feel it? Last night’s earthquake was an all but gentle reminder that Alaska is earthquake country.
What to do before an earthquake?
There truly is no substitute for preparation. Assume that during a disaster, cell phone service and likely internet will be unavailable. Some tips to prepare include:
- Familiarize yourself with safe spots around your home and office.
- Secure large objects to walls (additionally, try not to hang heavy pictures or objects over your bed)
- Inspect your water heater, furnace or boiler regularly. We secure these with earthquake straps to help limit the risk of gas lines rupturing; contact maintenance if you have any concerns.
- Create or purchase a disaster kit for your home, work, and car. These can be pricey if purchased outright; it is not unreasonable to create a list and shop the sales over time.
- Know how to turn off gas, electricity, and water in your home.
- Learn how to open a garage door manually (we’ll gladly explain if you contact maintenance)
- Memorize important phone numbers and retain physical copies of important documents.
- Have a family disaster preparedness plan (and practice it). Utilizing an out of state contact for all family members to check in with can ensure your family stays connected should local communication systems be down.
What to do during an earthquake?
One of the biggest immediate threats during earthquakes are everyday objects, such as picture frames, TVs, bookshelves, etc that can fall or become projectiles. It is important to note that while an earthquake may seem mild at the start, it can intensify in a matter of seconds.
- Inside? Drop, Cover, and Hold On.
- Outside? Move away from trees, light fixtures, and buildings then Drop, Cover, and Hold On.
- In a car? Stop as quickly as possible, and stay away from bridges, overpasses, and other objects that could fall.
It is imperative that everyone in your family practice Drop, Cover, and Hold On, especially children. Intense shaking may make it difficult for you to get to them while an earthquake is occurring.
What to do after an earthquake?
While projectiles are the largest threats during an earthquake; downed power lines, gas leaks, building structural issues, fire, and tsunamis are among the possible dangers that follow.
The Red Cross Guide
The Earthquake Country Alliance Guide
While this one wasn’t all that bad, Alaska accounts for 11% of the world’s earthquakes, the next one could be. Learning the ins and outs of earthquakes, taking every earthquake seriously and preparing you and your family is an integral part of living in Alaska.