Earthquake activity has increased in Oklahoma over the last few years and U.S. Geological Survey seismologists have stated the frequency is likely to continue and may potentially become worse. If you haven’t yet thought about how to prepare your Oklahoma apartment for an earthquake, below are some tips you can use to get yourself ready.
BEFORE AN EARTHQUAKE
Because you don’t know where you may be when an earthquake hits, a few preparation steps will go a long way to keep you safe.
Create an Emergency Kit
Set up emergency kits for your apartment and car. Among items the American Red Cross recommends including are:
- First-aid kit and medications
- Non-perishable food (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home) – and don’t forget a can opener
- One gallon of water per person per day (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
- Flashlight, radio and batteries
- Cell phone with charger
Visit the Red Cross website for a complete list of items.
Prevent Potential Hazards
- Assess each room to determine what objects could potentially fall on someone during a quake and/or block your exit
- Secure potentially hazardous objects to the walls, use safety straps to secure large items like TVs and computers to tabletops, and move larger items closer to the floor
- Consider installing childproof latches on cabinets to prevent doors from flying open and their contents spilling out
Have a Plan
- Identify the safest places to take cover in your apartment home, ideally under a sturdy table or desk
- Create a plan for how you’ll communicate with family; including designating someone as your out-of-state contact person and deciding where to meet if you are separated
- Create an inventory of your apartment’s contents and store it in an off-site location
- Talk with your insurance agent about earthquake coverage
- Sign up in advance to receive notifications from your local emergency service agencies and download smartphone apps from FEMA or the Red Cross that provide post-emergency information
DURING AN EARTHQUAKE
If you’re indoors
- When a quake starts, drop to the ground, take cover under a sturdy piece of furniture like a table or desk and hold on until the shaking subsides
- Doorways are no stronger than any other part of a building so don’t rely on them for protection
- If you can’t get under a piece of furniture, go to an inside corner of the building and protect your head and neck as best you can with your hands
- Keep away from windows, glass, ceiling fixtures and from anything that could fall or tip over on top of you
- If you’re inside, stay inside until the ground stops shaking to avoid falling debris
- Keep in mind electricity may be cut off, and fire alarms and the sprinkler systems may activate
If you’re outdoors
- Move toward an open area away from buildings, power lines, and streetlights and remain there until the quake stops
- Keep in mind the greatest danger is directly at building exits, outside of buildings, and by exterior walls where you could be hit by glass and other falling objects
AFTER AN EARTHQUAKE
- Before moving, look around for things that may fall and then leave the building.
- Check yourself and family members for injuries and apply first aid as needed
- Check your smartphone for any emergency notifications or instructions as well as local news or social media alerts
- Avoid damaged areas
- Be aware aftershocks may occur
- Check with apartment management for any community-specific instructions
With a bit of planning, you can be well prepared should an earthquake occur in Oklahoma City. Have other preparation tips? Share them with us in the comments.