New Yorkers are resilient animals that deal with traffic, overcrowding, cockroaches, rats, and slum landlords on a regular basis — not to mention navigating on public transportation during heavy rain, blizzards, and even tornados. But earthquakes? We have very little experience in that arena. Today’s only rocked the boat a little, but what are we supposed to do should a big one hit?
FEMA has step by step actions for you to follow should another earthquake hit. Firstly, the quake you feel may just be a foreshock- meaning a bigger one is on its way. Therefore, don’t think that what’s done is done. If you’re inside, stay there until everything settles down. Lots of people end up getting hurt because they move to a different location before the tremors are over. Once inside, get low. Get on the ground, and cover yourself under a sturdy table or interior doorframe. If this isn’t possible, cover your head with your hands. Obviously, stay away from windows, glass, light fixtures, and anything hanging. If you’re in bed, stay there and protect your head with a pillow.
If you’re outside and there is no shelter in sight, get into the open. Stay away from buildings, streetlights and wires — which we understand can be difficult in New York. However, studies show that exterior exits of buildings are the most dangerous areas, as falling debris can kill bystanders below.
Should you get trapped under fallen debris, FEMA recommends to not light a match, or move about. Instead, be sure to cover your mouth with clothing, as toxic dust can get kicked up when buildings crumble. Instead of shouting, tap on a pipe or a wall to get attention, to avoid inhaling the dust.
Many of these precautions may seem like common sense, but since we are not used to the earth moving under our feet, its important to read over them now and then, to keep the steps close in mind should an earthquake hit.