Posted by: Chris Maloney | March 12, 2011

What To Do If An Earthquake Hits.

Global earthquake epicenters, 1963 1998

Image via Wikipedia

Ok, first of all, Maine is not on a fault line, but we are next to a fault (read more about the difference here).  If you look at the earthquake maps, there are a number of recorded quakes here. 

Many of the discussions about what to do if an earthquake hits are about planning before an earthquake hits, like this one from Home and Garden.

The survivalists are the ones who think about the next big earthquake all the time, so here’s a very nice discussion about the myths (did you know that California probably won’t fall into the ocean?) and a rundown of stop, drop, and roll.  Then there is lots of planning advice. 

Evidently there is some contention about the stop, drop, and roll model, with one proclaimed expert advising a “triangle of life” model where you lie down next to a large object that can take the roof’s impact rather than you.  But then again, supposedly he’s an urban legend.  It does make me think about choosing a lower object to lunge under rather than the highest object in the room. 

So I went to the experts (U.S. anyway), the Californians.  Here’s the official info sheet on stop, drop and hold on, with lovely Californians looking like they are worshiping the metal table they’ve attached themselves to.  Hey, they don’t call California earthquake country for nothing.  The stop and drop is step five in a seven step earthquake prep plan

I like their plan a whole lot more than the Discovery Channel’s survival guide, which seems to involve me shimmying along rupturing pipes and climbing out windows Indiana Jones style.  As I’ve always said about the movies, they are more fun to watch than to live in. 

Videojug has some nice videos and text below for what to do if you are in various situations in an earthquakePopular Mechanics has 22 different survival scenarios, which mostly involve getting out of the way. 

 The basics seem to be to get under something sturdy that doesn’t move.  I’m looking for an increase in the sales of solid steel tables we can bolt down.  But the biggest thing is that all the experts are against racing to the nearest doorway because people get more injured by running about than they do staying put.  Being on a fault, rather than a fault line, we’re most likely to be damaged by debris. 



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