Transcript for Earthquake - Risk to the Central U.S., segment 05 of 7

In the event of a major quake, survival could well depend on your state of preparedness, on how quickly you act. Watch and listen closely for the next few minutes, and learn what to do before, during, and after the quake.

During a quake, most injuries are caused by falling objects. Large and heavy pieces of furniture such as bookcases should be fastened to wall studs. It's wise to securely attach gas appliances to walls or floors. Be aware of potential fire risks, and know where to shut off electricity at the main switch, gas and water valves where they enter the home. Also, every household should have an earthquake and disaster preparedness kit. The kit should contain a flashlight and portable radio, both with fresh batteries. You should have plenty of fresh water and nonperishable food. Your kit also should contain blankets, first aid supplies, and tools such as a crescent wrench that would help you survive in the event of a quake.

If you're indoors during a quake, stay indoors, and take cover under a heavy table or desk. Other places of safety include halls, doorways, and interior walls. If you're outside, stay outside, and move away from buildings and utility lines. And if you're in a car, stay there. When you drive on, be watchful for hazards created by the quake such as power lines.

After an earthquake, you will experience aftershocks. Most of these are likely to be of lesser intensity than the main shock, but they are capable of causing additional destruction so stay out of heavily damaged buildings. Check for injuries as soon as possible. Those who are seriously injured should not be moved unless in danger of further injury. Don't smoke or use an open flame. The possibility of gas leaks is high following an earthquake. If you do smell gas, open windows, shut off the main gas valve, and report the leak to authorities.

Of course, there are many other tips for how you can prepare for an earthquake, and there are places you can go to seek answers - your local disaster and emergency services or civil defense, for example. The local fire department can advise you on how to minimize fire risks, and the Red Cross has information on first aid procedures.

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