According to the U.S. Geological Survey, there are a whopping 500,000 detectable earthquakes in the world each year. That’s a lot! Could your city be next? Even a minor earthquake can cause damage in an apartment building that isn’t prepared. Here’s what you need to know to stay safe in your apartment (particularly if you live in a two story apartment!) before and during an earthquake.
Falling objects cause the majority of injuries during earthquakes. Heavy, tall bookshelves and storage cabinets pose a huge risk. As soon as you move into your apartment, take the time to secure your cabinets and shelves to the wall. The extra time you spend doing this will be worth it when your furniture stays in place during a quake.
Big chandeliers and light fixtures are gorgeous… but they can also pose a huge danger during earthquakes. Hang them in places where you can admire them, but not necessarily spend a lot of time under them. Specifically, avoid hanging things above your bed, living room couch, and any other place you spend a great deal of (motionless) time.
Studies conducted in Japan have shown that walking or running during an earthquake greatly increases your risk for injury, so don’t plan on going anywhere far. However, keep a spot in mind where you can shelter in place during an earthquake. The safest places are under tables or against walls. Stay away from windows! Shattered glass can cause extensive injuries. If you are exposed during an earthquake, cover your head with your hands.
After an earthquake comes the aftershocks, and these can be just as intense as the earthquake. Prepare yourselves for the aftershock, mentally and physically! If you didn’t have time to get to a safe spot in your apartment during the earthquake, get to a safe spot and shelter in place until the aftershocks have passed.
Be careful walking around your apartment and apartment complex after an earthquake. There is often broken glass and debris. Wear shoes at all times and watch where you’re stepping. Make sure your landlord is aware of any damage caused by the earthquake!
As a renter, the best thing you can do is be prepared for any emergency, and that includes earthquakes. Take these tips to heart and make sure you and your family are ready for whatever Mother Nature throws your way. Our exhaustive list of Tips for Apartment Emergency Preparedness can help you get there!
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