By Craig M. dePolo (Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology)
Earthquakes are all about consequences, as the chance of a damaging one occurring is fortunately low (although upwards of 14,000 small earthquakes occur in Nevada every year). But the consequences, especially those that could have been prevented, are commonly unacceptable. The low chance of an event makes it easy to delay getting prepared with all the other pressing issues in life. But Nevada is earthquake country and damaging earthquakes will occur in the future. With the magnitude 6.4 and 7.1 earthquakes occurring not far from the Nevada border, it is a great time to finally get earthquake ready. Here is what we recommend:
1) Personal safety: Know what to do when strong shaking occurs. DROP, COVER, and HOLD. Can things fall on you when you’re in bed? If so remove these items or secure them. Identify a safe spot in each room where you can take cover to protect yourself from falling objects. Don’t forget to check your office as well.
2) Protect valuable items: The contents in our homes and offices can be tossed around during an earthquake and heavy or sharp objects are a common cause of injuries. Shaking hazards can be moved to a safer location, secured in place, replaced with a lighter item, or removed altogether. Some special consideration should also be given to items that are of value to you, such as family heirlooms, to protect them.
3) Prepare a disaster kit: This includes water, food, safety supplies, medications, pet food and other supplies to sustain you and your family for at least five days.
4) Prepare a disaster plan: Taking the time to put together a short plan helps a family reunite following a damaging earthquake and focuses attention on possible hazards around your house (such as telling children to stay away from a tall chimney). Discuss this plan with your family. Businesses should have disaster plans too.
5) Check your house for earthquake weaknesses and begin to fix them: This step is the hardest and you may need some assistance, but protecting the investment of your home and having a place to shelter following an earthquake makes it worthwhile. Is your house bolted to the foundation?
These and other recommendations and further earthquake discussions can be found in Living with Earthquakes in Nevada at this link (open the link below and then click on the PDF link under Free Downloads):
http://pubs.nbmg.unr.edu/Living-with-earthquakes-in-NV-p/sp027.htm Future damaging earthquakes will occur in Nevada, and we want Nevadans to survive them well.