How To Prepare For Earthquakes In Washington

Matt Lillywhite

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Washington is one of the most earthquake-prone states in the country, according to the US Geological Survey (a government agency). And since millions of people live in Seattle and the surrounding region, residents should know how to prepare for an earthquake when one occurs.

As you can see from the map below, Washington is one of the most earthquake-prone states in the country:

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Map of earthquake-prone statesUSGS

How Washington Residents Can Prepare For An Earthquake.

Preparing your home does not have to be expensive or time-consuming. It's a good idea to secure heavy furniture and light fixtures so they don't injure you during an earthquake. Also, don't sleep with heavy objects over your head because they could fall during heavy shaking.

An earthquake can happen at any time of the day. Therefore, you might be separated from your family when one occurs. Consider nominating a trusted loved one to be a backup emergency contact. So, if your family can't reach you for whatever reason, they'll still be looked after by someone you trust.

If you're injured or unable to leave your neighborhood, the US Geological Survey recommends keeping the following emergency supplies at home:

  • First-aid kit.
  • Fire extinguisher.
  • Portable radio with extra batteries
  • Flashlights with extra bulbs and batteries
  • Waterproof, heavy-duty plastic bags for waste disposal.
  • Adequate supplies of prescription medications and painkillers.
  • Crescent and pipe wrenches to turn off gas and water supplies.
  • Water and food for each family member for at least two weeks.
  • Camp stove or barbecue to cook outdoors (store fuel out of the reach of children).

How Washington Residents Can Stay Safe During An Earthquake.

If you are indoors, drop, cover, and hold on. Move away from windows and outside walls. Hold onto a sturdy object while protecting your head and stomach from falling debris.

If you are outside, stay outside. Move away from buildings, power lines, trees, and anything else that might pose a threat during an earthquake. A good place to be is a grassy park full of open space since there aren't many objects that could fall on you during an earthquake.

If you are driving when an earthquake occurs, stop as quickly and safely as possible. Ideally, you shouldn't be on/under any bridges or anything else that might collapse. According to the CDC, you should "stay in the car and set the parking brake. A car may jiggle violently on its springs, but it is a good place to stay until the shaking stops."

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