Common Myths About Earthquake Safety

What are some of the common myths about earthquake safety and why are they false.

Earthquakes are a very scary part of nature. Staying safe for the duration of an earthquake is a very important skill to know for those who live in an area prone to them. Along with the facts about earthquake safety, there are also plenty of myths floating out there as well.

The ground can open up during an earthquake. This is a myth. There is no need to worry about falling into a hole in the ground if you are in the vicinity of an earthquake. The pieces of earth run along side each other during an earthquake. If they did not move this way, there would be no friction, and thus, no earthquake to begin with. Small crevices are possible, but the large, gaping holes that are seen in movies are completely not possible.

During an earthquake, you should head for the doorway. This is also a myth. This advice is no longer recommended although it was at one point. When this was true, door frames were known to be the strongest areas of a house. With today's construction, the doorways are the same strength as the rest of the house and swinging doors can cause you more harm than good. Dropping to the floor, covering your head, and holding onto a sturdy piece of furniture is the better option. If you happen to be outside, you should find an area that is clear of things such as trees, power lines, and buildings. In tall buildings, stay away from outside walls and windows and protect yourself beneath a sturdy table. If you are driving, pull over away from power lines and overpasses and wait for the shaking to stop. In crowded places, do not rush for the door. This can cause more problems.



People go into mass panic during an earthquake. This is also false. Movies like to portray mass chaos when an earthquake hits, but that is not often the case in real life. Studies have shown that most people do not overreact and simply take protective measures and even manage to help others out as well.

You can't plan for an earthquake. This is also a myth. There are many ways to make sure that you and your family will be safe in the event of an earthquake. Make sure that every member of the family knows the emergency procedures. Establish a meeting place to be sure everyone is safe. Keep a few days worth of emergency supplies. Transportation may get cut off and you will need food and water to get through. Know where the main shutoffs for things such as gas, water, and electric are so you can avoid bigger problems. Know where the nearest medical facilities are and also have at least one member of the family trained in first aid and CPR. Communicate with your neighbors so that you can all help look out for each other. You should also bolt large pieces of furniture in place such as book cases, curio cabinets, and other tall furniture. Also, have your house inspected by a safety engineer to be sure that your house is seismically sound.

Earthquakes are very scary and if someone is not informed or misinformed, the situation can be even worse. Knowing what things are true and which things are false is very important. Do your research and do your best to prepare yourself and your family in the case that disaster may strike.

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