Red Cross safety tips for before, during and after earthquakes

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Smoke rises from a fire that broke out behind the Casa Corona restaurant following an earthquake in Ridgecrest, Calif., Friday, July 5, 2019. (Jessica Weston/The Daily Independent via AP)

RIDGECREST, Calif. (KGET) — With two powerful earthquakes hitting near Ridgecrest the past two days, seismologists are reminding residents it’s a matter of when, not if, the next one hits.

The American Red Cross has tips for earthquake safety.

Before an earthquake hits

  • Assemble an emergency preparedness kit with easy-to-carry supplies.
  • Create a household evacuation plan that includes your pets.
  • Stay informed about your community’s risk and response plans.
  • Educate your family on how to use the Safe and Well website to inform loved ones of your status.
  • Download the Emergency App for iPhone or Android. 

During an earthquake:

Staying safe indoors

  • Drop, cover and hold on.
    • Move as little as possible – most injuries during earthquakes occur because of people moving around, falling and suffering sprains, fractures and head injuries.
    • Try to protect your head and torso.
  • If you are in bed, stay there, curl up and hold on, and cover your head.
  • Stay indoors until the shaking stops and you are sure it is safe to exit.
    • If you must leave a building after the shaking stops, use stairs rather than an elevator in case of aftershocks, power outages or other damage.
  • Be aware that smoke alarms and sprinkler systems frequently go off in buildings during an earthquake, even if there is no fire.
  • If you smell gas, get out of the house and move as far away as possible.
  • Before you leave any building check to make sure that there is no debris from the building that could fall on you.

Staying Safe Outdoors

  • Find a clear spot and drop to the ground. Stay there until the shaking stops.
  • Try to get as far away from buildings, power lines, trees, and streetlights as possible.
  • If you’re in a vehicle, pull over to a clear location and stop. Avoid bridges, overpasses and power lines if possible.
  • Stay inside with your seatbelt fastened until the shaking stops.
  • After the shaking has stopped, drive on carefully, avoiding bridges and ramps that may have been damaged.
  • If a power line falls on your vehicle, do not get out. Wait for assistance.
  • If you are in a mountainous area or near unstable slopes or cliffs, be alert for falling rocks and other debris as well as landslides. 

After an earthquake

  • If away from home, return only when authorities say it is safe to do so.
  • Check yourself for injuries and get first aid, if necessary, before helping injured or trapped persons.
  • Expect and prepare for potential aftershocks, landslides or even a tsunami if you live on a coast.
  • Each time you feel an aftershock, drop, cover and hold on. Aftershocks frequently occur minutes, days, weeks and even months following an earthquake.
  • Look for and extinguish small fires. Fire is the most common hazard after an earthquake.

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