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Unlike hurricanes, tornadoes and some other natural disasters, earthquakes - one of the most frightening and destructive phenomenas of nature - tend to strike suddenly & without warning. An earthquake is defined as a sudden and violent shaking of the ground, as a result of movements within the earth's crust or volcanic action.

Here I will be giving instructions and tips to prepare and protect yourself, your family, and your property in the event of an earthquake.

Step 1: To Begin Preparing...

To begin preparing, the first thing you need to have is an earthquake readiness plan, thoroughly discussed and understood between you and your household family members.

Plan out with your family where and how to reunite, and make sure to have a person chosen to contact if family members are separated.

Plan responsibilities. There will be plenty of things to take care of after a severe earthquake. Talk with family, neighbors, and friends about the possibilities that may occur and develop plans for yourself and also those in greater need if need be. Remember that it could be hard to get around after an earthquake so each persons' tasks needs to depend on his or her's capability.

Step 2: Prepare a Basic Disaster Supplies Kit

Next what you're going to want to prepare is a basic disaster supplies kit.

You're going to need:

  • Water, and lots of it.
  • Non-perishable food (cereal, canned goods, ramen noodles)
  • Battery powered radio (to listen in on weather updates and warnings)
  • Flashlight (when the electricity goes out, you've got to be able to see your way around if it's nighttime)
  • First aid kit

Step 3: Your Safe Room

An important factor of staying safe during an earthquake is to know of a room or area in your home where there are sturdy structures. Make sure that is in an area where nothing is likely to fall on you. Have this designated room discussed thoroughly with the members of your household, it could potentially save a life.

Step 4: If Shaking Begins...

Now that you are ready and prepared in the case of an earthquake occurrence, you need to know what to do once the earthquake hits.

If shaking begins:

  1. Drop down immediately.
  2. Take cover under a desk, table, or other sturdy structure you can get under.
  3. Hold on.
  4. If you cannot find a sturdy structure around you, cover your head and neck with your hands the best you can.
    • STAY AWAY FROM WINDOWS.
    • Stay away from bookshelves or furniture that can fall on you.

If you are outdoors, find a clear spot away from trees, buildings, and power lines; drop to the ground and cover your head and neck with your arms and hands.

Step 5: The Aftermath

Now to prepare for the aftermath...

EXPECT AFTERSHOCKS!!!
Aftershocks are secondary shockwaves that can occur within the first hours, days, or even weeks after the earthquake.

If you happen to be trapped under debris - do not move about - tap on something nearby so that rescuers can locate you. Only shout as a last resort! Shouting can cause you to inhale dangerous amounts of dust.

Otherwise, once shaking has stopped, make sure it is safe to move around and then proceed to exit the building.

Step 6: Aftermath, Continued

Extinguish small fires. These tend to come about after earthquakes.

Inspect injuries and provide assistance to others if need be.

Inspect your utilities: gas leaks, electrical system damage, sewage and water line damage, etc.

Step 7:

All 50 states and 5 US territories are at some possible risk for earthquakes at any time of the year.

It is nearly impossible to predict when one will occur, so now you are prepared in the case of an earthquake.

<p>This is really great information, thanks for sharing your knowledge! Welcome to instructables!</p>

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