PUBLISHED: 4:09 PM on Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Being prepared for an earthquake
In Los Angeles, California, "shake, rattle and roll" are an event and not just the lyrics to a song. I can remember as a young child being shaken out of bed and feeling rattled that my world had just rolled. It was always amazing to me that something so seemingly stable could rise up without notice and flow like the water in the ocean. What I remember the most is that when earthquakes occurred, I was able to remain calm because I was empowered with the knowledge of what to do and what not to do. Even as I skittered across the schoolroom floor while sitting under my desk, I remained cool and collected.

Earthquakes and earthquake drills were a part of my childhood, and after the recent earthquake here in Juneau, we all need to review earthquake safety.

Preparedness was the key then and remains the same today, and part of preparedness is to talk with our families about what to do in the case of an earthquake. If you are inside during an earthquake you should find cover underneath a sturdy table or drop against an inside wall, cover and hold on. Take time to walk around your home and take positions of cover to find out what hazards may be right above you; for instance, if great grandfather's clock is above you, this could fall and cause injury. Taking stock of hazards now will help you define the safest places to be in your home during an earthquake.

Stay away from windows and watch out for items that could fall and break thus causing injury. If you are in bed, stay there and cover your head with a pillow. Practice this drill during bed time with younger children, so that if a quake should occur they will know what to do. Getting out of bed and moving may lead to injuries. Fall and other hazards such as broken glass on the floor are among the major causes of injury during and after an earthquake.

If you find yourself outside during an earthquake, find an open place away from anything that could fall upon you, such as trees or utility poles, drop and cover. Remember in the event of a major earthquake power and phone lines may be down, so have a preparedness kit ready with a battery-powered radio, flashlight, food and water, and wait for direction from your local emergency broadcast station.

Earthquakes can be scary for everyone and the American Red Cross of Alaska would like to encourage our communities to lessen the fear by being prepared. Practice a family earthquake drill and talk with your children, prepare a kit and get trained in CPR and first aid. You can visit our website at for more information on building a kit and earthquake safety or by calling our offices at 463-5713.

The American Red Cross of Alaska is available to come to your school and present on earthquake preparedness. Our educational programs are a great way to integrate preparedness presentations on earthquakes and other topics into science and health curriculums. So remember to get prepared and be Red Cross Ready.