What Are Earthquakes, and What Causes Them?
Earthquakes are a natural, sudden, and violent shaking of Earth's surface. They are caused by the shifting and breaking apart of rock deep beneath the Earth's surface. These rocks are moved by a force known as plate tectonics. Massive plates move, colliding, moving past, over and under one another to form Earth's surface. It's their movement we're feeling during an Earthquake. Earthquakes are most likely to occur in the areas that these giant plates meet, the boundaries, though to it possible for them to also occur in the middle of plates.
In the event of an earthquake, it's vitally important that we are aware of and understand a few key risks. Understanding the implications of an earthquake will help you to prepare and ready you family in the event of an emergency. One of the biggest things to be aware of is that with an earthquake comes a rattling and shaking of structures, including bridges and roads. The movement may diminish their structural integrity. Power, gas, and electric services may also fail, as the nerve centers or parts thereof are damaged. For these reasons, it's important for your family to have their own emergency preparedness supplies. Those living in coastal communities should also be aware of an earthquake's ability to trigger tsunamis, damaging waves that may cause additional damage and flooding.
Aside from the initial earthquake, it's important to be aware of resulting aftershocks. Within the hours, days, and months following the event, aftershocks, smaller quakes that may further damage structures. Thankfully, many of these movements are predictable, enabling communities to be proactive and manage any risk as effectively as possible. Whether you're dealing with foreshocks (before the earthquake), a confirmed earthquake, or aftershocks, be aware that flying glass, weakened walls and foundations, and falling debris may cause injury or death. Be on high alert and stay aware of your surroundings.
Part of disaster awareness is also being aware of the resources available to us in the event of natural disasters. The American Red Cross, as well as FEMA, may be able to provide your family and community with much needed assistance in times of crisis. These and similar world organizations may provide basic necessities like food, shelter, water, and clothing.
Plan for an Earthquake
Planning for an earthquake is essential in order to keep safe. Having a plan, emergency essentials, and emergency preparedness supplied, including a well-kept food storage system is important for people living in high risk areas spanning more than 40 U.S. states and territories. Create a plan for you and your family that includes the following:
What to Tell Children
Talking to children about earthquakes, how and why they happen, and the dangers they impose may also help to ease their fears and best prepare them for these natural disasters.
How to Protect Your Property
Protecting your property starts with making sure you're properly insured, but it doesn't stop there. There are precautions you can take to minimize damage and the risks associated with earthquakes.
What to Do During an Earthquake
What to Do After an Earthquake
After the shaking has subsided, assess yourself for injuries and seek medical attention if necessary. Once you're taken care of, you may be in a position to help others, including the young, elderly, or disabled. Assist others as needed with basic first aid and call emergency services as needed. It is also important to assess your surroundings after an earthquake. Look for small fires, broken glass, spilled liquids, or anything else that might result in further injury.
At this point, you may be able to collect your emergency preparedness supplied and retrieve your battery-operated radio use to receive emergency broadcasts with important information pertinent to your safety and any notice of evacuation.
Other Earthquake Resources
By: Steven Moore