An earthquake hit Haiti in 2010, killing about 200,000 people. It also caused billions of dollars of damage.
Unlike hurricanes and many other natural disasters, earthquakes hit without warning and can come in waves. You can't know for sure if another, even stronger earthquake will strike again. If you live in an area that has earthquakes, you probably have had drills at school so you'll know how to stay safe. But here are some reminders for you to share with your family.
Prepare for an Earthquake
- Have an entire family learn what to do during an earthquake. Practice what you have learned. For some tips, check Earthquake USGS website.
- Identify the safest places in each room to take cover. During family drills, practice going to those areas.
- Write down the addresses and phone numbers for where your family members are during the day, such as schools and businesses. All the members of your family should carry this list.
During an Earthquake
If you are indoors:
- Drop to the floor, take cover by getting under a strong desk or other piece of furniture, and hold on until the shaking stops. If there isn't a desk or table, cover your head with arms or crouch down in an inside corner of the building.
- Keep away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls, and anything that can fall, such as bookselves and hanging lights.
- If you are in bed when a quake hits, stay there. Put a pillow over your head for extra safety. If you are under something that could topple on you, move to a safer place.
- Only stand in a doorway if it is close to you and you are sure it can support the weight of the building.
- Don't leave until shaking stops and you are certain it is safe to go outside.
- Never use the elevator during an earthquake.
If you are outdoors:
- Stay outdoors, and move away from buildings, streetlights, and electrical wires.
- Stay in the open until there is no more shaking.
After an Earthquake
- When the shaking stops, make sure everyone is okay.
- Adults should check the home for areas made unsafe by the earthquake.
[spoiler title="Did You Know?"]
Structures that are not built to withstand earthquakes may crumble during a powerful quake. This building is in Haiti, a place that was hit by a quake in 2010.
Architects, engineers, and scientists have made lots of progress in building structures that will stay standing during a quake. Buildings often collapsed when they sway back and forth during an earthquake. But earthquake-proof buildings don't sit directly on th ground. Instead, they float on ball bearings, springs, or padded cylinders. During a quake, the buildings move with it, swaying a few feet from side to side. This keeps the structure standing.
Engineers have developed sensors to make these buildings even safer. The sensors detect shaking and "tell" the building how to move. This cuts down on how much the structure shakes.
New technology will continue to protect buildings and the people in them during a quake.