Bonjour. Mabuhay.

Earthquakes are one of the many things can catch us by surprise. There are no quick fix solutions to such a problem. I’m sure you all know what is in the news.

However, knowledge is power. And having the power can mean life and death in certain situations. Here are some tips I saw on how to deal with an earthquake situation. It pays to know. Don’t get caught off guard. Protect yourself, your loved ones and your pets by knowing what to do during and after an earthquake.

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DURING THE QUAKE

Indoors

* Stay inside
* DROP, COVER, AND HOLD ON! Move only a few steps to a nearby safe place. Take cover under and hold onto a piece of heavy furniture or stand against an inside wall. Stay indoors until the shaking stops and you’re sure it’s safe to exit. Stay away from windows and doors.
* **Never take an elevator
* If you are in bed, hold on, stay there, protect your head with a pillow.

Outdoors

* Find a clear spot away from buildings, trees, and power lines.
* Drop to the ground until the shaking stops.

In A Car

* Slow down and drive to a clear place (as described above).
* Turn on emergency flashers on and slow to a stop. Do not stop on overpasses, underpasses, or bridges. Be careful of overhead hazards such as power lines or falling building debris.
* Turn off the ignition and set the parking brake.
* Stay inside the car until the shaking stops.

PETS: During and after

* Don’t try to hold your pet during a quake. Animals instinctively want to hide when their safety is threatened. If you get in their way, even the nicest pets may hurt you.
* Watch animals closely. Leash dogs and place them in a fenced yard.
* Pets may not be allowed into shelters for health and space reasons. Prepare an emergency pen for pets in the home that includes a 3-day supply of dry food and a large container of water.
* If you can’t find your pet or must leave it at home after a quake, leave fresh water in nonspill containers such as bathtubs and sinks. Leave plenty of low-fat dry food, which deteriorates more slowly and is less tasty so pets won’t try to eat it all at once. Leave a note indicating that you have a pet, where you will be and the date.

AFTER THE QUAKE

Personal Safety

* Expect aftershocks. Each time you feel one, DROP, COVER, AND HOLD ON!
* Check yourself for injuries. Protect yourself by wearing long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, sturdy shoes and work gloves.
* Listen to a battery-operated radio or television for the latest emergency information.
* Check others for injuries. Give first aid where appropriate. Do not move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of further injury.
* Remember to help your neighbors who may require special assistance–infants, the elderly, and people with disabilities.

Home

* Inspect your home for damage. Get everyone out if your home is unsafe.
* Telephone: Use the telephone only for emergencies. Check to make sure the receiver has not been shaken off the hook and is tying up the line.
* Fires: Look for and extinguish small fires.
* Gas: Check for gas leaks. If you smell gas or hear blowing or hissing noise, open a window and leave building. Turn off the gas at the outside main valve if you can and call the gas company.
* **Remember, only a professional can turn the gas back on.
* Electricity: Look for electrical system damage. Turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker if you see sparks or broken or frayed wires, or if smell hot insulation. If you have to step in water to get to the fuse box or circuit breaker, call an electrician first for advice.
* Sewage, Water: Check for sewage and water lines damage. If you suspect sewage lines are damaged, avoid using the toilets and contact a plumber. If water pipes are damaged, contact the water company and avoid using water from the tap.

SOURCE: American Red Cross, FEMA, SF Fire Department, SF Chronicle

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