Although earthquakes are sometimes believed to be a West Coast phenomenon, there are actually 45 states and territories throughout the United States that are at moderate to high risk of experiencing earthquakes. Indiana and Illinois lie in the most seismically active region east of the Rocky Mountains and include geologic faults that are capable of producing earthquakes. Earthquakes are sudden and unpredictable, so it is important for you and your family to prepare ahead of time.
Prepare Your Home
- Store breakable items such as dishes, glasses and bottled foods in cabinets that close and latch securely.
- Fasten shelves securely to walls and place large or heavy objects on lower shelves to help reduce injuries during an earthquake.
- Anchor overhead lighting fixtures and hang heavy items such as pictures and mirrors away from beds, couches and anywhere people sit.
- Take a look at your house and locate safe spots in each room under a sturdy table or against an inside wall.
- Have a licensed professional repair inflexible utility connections, defective electrical wiring and leaky gas lines. Flexible fittings are more resistant to damage.
During an Earthquake
- If you are indoors:
- Take cover under a sturdy desk, table, bench or against an inside wall and hold on. If there isn’t a table or desk near you, cover your face and head with your arms and crouch in an inside corner of the building.
- Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls or anything that could fall, such as lighting fixtures or furniture.
- Use a doorway for shelter only if it is in close proximity to you and if you know it is a strongly supported, load bearing doorway.
- Stay inside until the shaking stops and it is safe to go outside.
- If you are outdoors:
- Stay there, but move away from power lines, street lights, buildings or anything else that can fall.
- If you are in a vehicle:
- Stop as quickly as safety permits and stay in the vehicle. Avoid stopping near or under buildings, trees, overpasses and utility wires.
- Do not attempt to drive across bridges or overpasses that appear to have been damaged.
- If you are in a vehicle:
- Do not light a match or use a cigarette lighter.
- If possible, cover your mouth with a handkerchief or clothing. Do not move about or kick up dust.
- Tap on a pipe or wall so rescuers can locate you. Use a whistle if one is available. Shout only as a last resort, as shouting can cause you to inhale dangerous amounts of dust.
After an Earthquake
- Be cautious – aftershocks can further damage weakened structures.
- Assess your environment for hazards like broken glass, fallen trees or downed power lines before you move from your location.
- Tune to radio or TV for the latest emergency information.
- Remember that unless you need to evacuate or are instructed to evacuate, stay off of the roads to keep the streets clear for emergency vehicles. If you do evacuate, leave a message at home letting family, friends, and/or local officials know where you can be found.