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What To Do During Earthquakes

Two parents and their daughter, smiling while holding a roof shaped piece of wood over their heads

If you call the apartments for rent in Los Angeles home, you may have noticed Southern California experienced an earthquake earlier in the month, one of the largest in 20 years, and coming hot off the heels of another earthquake that occurred just previously in the Mojave Desert on July 4th. According to experts, California will be feeling the effects of this massive quake for some time to come:

"A quake with a magnitude of 7.1 jolted much of California, cracking buildings, setting fires, breaking roads and causing several injuries while seismologists warned that large aftershocks were expected to continue for days, if not weeks. The Friday night quake — preceded by Thursday's 6.4-magnitude temblor in the Mojave Desert — was the largest Southern California quake in at least 20 years and was followed by a series of large and small aftershocks."

With all that shaking, rattling, and rolling going on, you might be wondering, however slight the chances may be, "how should I react if an earthquake hits close to home?" After, the West Coast is known for its seismic activity, so it's better to have the knowledge on what to do and not need than vice versa. Today, we're going to be looking over some expert advice on how to react when a earthquake strikes to better prepare you in the event of a disaster or emergency.

Reacting to an Earthquake 101

Since earthquakes can happen without warning and cause tremendous damage, the first thing you'll want to do is find the safest place possible. The Department of Homeland Security recommends that you "Drop, Cover, and Hold On" during an earthquake, if you find yourself indoors when one strikes:

  • Drop — The first thing you'll want to do is drop to your hands and knees when you feel the quake begin.
  • Cover — Next, you should cover your head and neck with your arms (to shield from debris that could seriously injure you). If there's a sturdy piece of furniture nearby, like a table or desk, you'll want to take shelter beneath it to further protect yourself. If you can't find a piece of furniture to shelter beneath, you'll want to get away from any windows and look for an interior wall to huddle against. It's important to remain on your knees and bend over to protect your vital organs as best as possible.
  • Hold On — You'll want to hold on to that piece of furniture with one hand, and move with it as it moves during the quake. If you can't find a piece of furniture to shield yourself with, keep your head and neck protected with your arms.

And if you're in a wheelchair or walker, what then? Wheelchair users will want to make sure their wheels are locked and remained seated. You'll want to cover your head with whatever you have available, then hold in place until the earthquake subsides.

Now, this is what you should do when an earthquake first strikes, but you should also be ready to take action once the first tremor hits, as there can be "serious hazards such as damage to the building, leaking gas and water lines, or downed power lines" to contend with, among other dangers. You should expect aftershocks that follow the main shock of an earthquake, so be ready to shield yourself from danger again.

If you have some emergency medical training, you should check yourself and others to see who is hurt and who you can help until emergency services arrive. DHS calls this "Help Until Help Arrives" and it's important because life-threatening trauma requires immediate action to increase an injured person's chances of survival. In the event of an earthquake, that responsibility may fall to you, so you'll be doing your part by staying prepared.

If you are inside a building that has been damaged in an earthquake, you'll want to vacate and quickly move away from it to avoid being trapped by debris. Do not enter damaged buildings after an earthquake, and if you find yourself trapped, protect your mouth, nose, and eyes from dust, then try to signal for help as best you can. If you have your phone, send a text. If not, try banging on a pipe, a wall — anything you can do to make some noise and alert rescuers to your position.

If you are near the water, in an area that might experience a tsunami, you'll want to get to higher ground after the quake is over. The deluge of water that follows a quake can be devastating, and you'll not want to find yourself trapped in it. Once you are safe, you'll want to monitor emergency broadcasts for information and instructions on what to do next. The authorities will likely have emergency procedures set in place, and following them will be to the benefit of everyone affected by the quake.

You can make all of your earthquake reaction plans that much more effective by practicing your disaster routine before a quake hits. Rehearse the Drop, Cover, and Hold On maneuvers with your family, create an emergency supply kit that will help sustain you in the event of disaster, secure items within your home, and make sure that your entire family knows what to do when a quake hits. This will optimize your chances of survival and help keep you and yours safe.

Stay Prepared at the Apartments for Rent in Los Angeles

Now that you know what to do in the event of an earthquake, you should be able to rest a little bit easier in your LA abode. If that happens to be The Madrid, you'll have an easier time than most at kicking back, as this is one of the relaxing communities LA has to offer. Just what will you find waiting in store for you here? How about the spacious residences and expansive selection of resident amenities? The fabulous communal spaces, and of course, the lovely pool? There's plenty to enjoy at The Madrid, so be sure to check it out soon, and learn how you can make this your new home on LA's West Side.