There was a time when the word "earthquake" brought to mind the West Coast, large South American cities, and Asian capitals. The emerging reality is that earthquakes can take place in just about any geographical location, and few people are free from the risk. From Southern Missouri to Massachusetts, everyone should plan for the possibility of an earthquake.
Know What to Do
Earthquakes comes on suddenly. Knowing what to do -- and what to instruct your family to do -- can help keep you safe. The moment you realize that the earth has begun to shake, get down low, find a safe place under a heavy piece of furniture, and stay there until the shaking stops. If the earthquake is severe enough, you can expect anything that has not been bolted to the walls to fall. Large items like televisions, refrigerators, and heavy artwork are potential dangers. If you have the option, seek refuge away from such items.
If an earthquake begins while you're in bed, cover your head with a pillow and stay put until the shaking has subsided. Although it may feel counterintuitive, you can be hurt by attempting to get out of bed while the earth is shaking. Those in wheelchairs need to move away from heavy objects, lock the wheels of their wheelchair, and cover their head and neck with their arms. If an earthquake begins while you're outside, look around for an area that is clear of power lines, trees, buildings, and other hazards. The rule is, if it can fall, stay clear of it.
You can reduce the odds of becoming one of the 63,000 deaths attributed to earthquakes each year by being prepared. Visit the U.S. Geological Survey to learn what to do before, during, and after an earthquake.
Speak with your insurance agent about protecting yourself from earthquake loss. Even if you're a renter, ask how much a rider on your policy will cost.
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