As multiple earthquakes and aftershocks rattle the Southwestern US, seismologists predict more to come and people fear the “big one” could follow.
Here’s how to prepare:
Assuming cell phones will not work in the event of a natural disaster, map out with family and friends where possible meeting sites will be.
Know your emergency exits and plan what to do in case of an earthquake/fire (explained below).
Have food, water and supplies stored in plastic garbage bags that can be easily grabbed and taken with you in case of an emergency.
Have an “emergency kit” with phone numbers, medications, money and other important documents in water-proof/fire-proof casing.
Include tools, whistles, flash lights and batteries in your emergency kit as well.
Loose foundations, awnings, book shelves, chandeliers and knickknacks to name a few could cause serious injury in the event of an earthquake. Anchor down any loose fixtures. Family members should know how to shut off gas/electric/water supplies and appliances should have flexible, break away connections. Avoid hanging anything heavy such as pictures or chandeliers above the bed.
Consult professionals if unsure if your house is able to withstand shifts in its foundation.
If indoors, take cover under a table, desk, or doorway. Be careful of swinging doors, and keep hands and arms close to your body, covering your head if possible.
Avoid running outside during an earthquake. Find a room in the house with few wall/ceiling hangings and stay in the center to avoid windows, bookshelves or other furniture shifting and falling onto you.
If you’re in bed, and no time to run to a safe room, you can cover your head with a pillow.
If you are outside when the shaking starts, find an open area and drop to the ground, staying low. Avoid power lines, trees, overpasses and buildings.
If in a vehicle when the shaking starts, pull over to a safe open area. Again avoid power lines, trees, buildings and overpasses.
Exit any damaged buildings, move away from them and go to an open area, and refrain from going into another building that may appear damaged.
If you live in an area near water, go to higher land in case a tsunami follows.
If trapped inside, use a whistle or nearby object to alert first responders of where you may be.
For more information on earthquake preparedness, visit here.
This morning, a 7.0 earthquake hit Alaska. I haven’t seen any reports of serious injuries or fatalities but it sounds like Anchorage and the surrounding communities got pummeled with some major infrastructure damage, some TV stations going off air and the airport temporarily shutting down.
Alaska hasn’t had an earthquake since that awful M9.2 quake / tsunami hit the Prince William Sound region back in 1964. Which is exactly why a tsunami warning was issued this time in case aftershocks were powerful enough to form a tidal wave. Thankfully, while there were several aftershocks reported, none of them produced the feared tsunami and the warning was cancelled.
The Anchorage Police Department issued this statement.
“The Anchorage Police Department is operational after this morning’s massive earthquake.
Our Dispatch center is fully staffed and answering your calls as quickly as they can. Please only call 911 if it’s an emergency.
Our officers have been dispatched throughout the area and are handling multiple situations. We are working with our public safety partners to keep you safe. For parents, we are working with our partners at the Anchorage School District to check on your children and make sure they are safe.
There is major infrastructure damage across Anchorage. Many homes and buildings are damaged. Many roads and bridges are closed. Stay off the roads if you don’t need to drive. Seek a safe shelter. Check on your surroundings and loved ones.
We will keep you updated via Nixle throughout the day.
Again, stay safe and off the roads. Call 911 only if it’s an emergency.”
Alaska Gov. Bill Walker tweeted that he issued a Disaster Declaration. Now, just so you know - there are two types of Disaster Declarations. First: Major Disaster Declaration, which means the disaster has exceeded the response capabilities of the state and local government and long term recovery is probably needed. The second: Emergency Declaration, which is requested when the state and local government needs help responding to an emergency or disaster; however, no long term recovery assistance is needed.
I have not seen one way or another which type of Declaration Governor Walker has requested but I’m going to go out on a limb and say, “Major Disaster Declaration.” It was a 7.0 earthquake, after all.
This is a developing story and will be updated as further information is available.