As officials in central Oklahoma assess for damage from the largest quake to hit the state since record-keeping began, the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes® (FLASH) — the country’s leading consumer advocate for strengthening homes and safeguarding families from natural and manmade disasters — offers the following post-earthquake safety precautions.
“It’s important for consumers to take safety precautions after an earthquake has passed and to expect aftershocks,” says Leslie Chapman-Henderson. “Being aware of the risks of damage to your home will help to keep you and your family out of harms’ way,” she adds.
FLASH provides the following safety precautions:
- Don’t move injured persons unless they are in immediate danger.
- Turn on your TV or radio for emergency information and instructions.
- Check utilities for gas and/or water leaks or broken electrical connections.
- Be prepared to turn off utilities in the event they are damaged.
- Clean up medications, cleaning products and/or flammable liquids.
- Check food and water supplies.
- Open cabinets carefully to avoid objects falling out.
- Ensure water is safe to drink.
- DO NOT use matches in damaged areas until all gas lines are checked for leaks (keep flashlights and plenty of batteries at hand).
- Use a camera or camcorder to record thoroughly any damage done to your home before any repairs are attempted.
- Consider having professionals/licensed contractors inspect your home for damage and help in repairs. This includes electricians and professionals to inspect gas lines, remove uprooted trees and check plumbing.
- Remember that downed or damaged trees can contain power lines that can be hazardous.
- Use a camera or camcorder to thoroughly record damage to your home before repairs are attempted.
- Avoid driving as roads may be blocked.
- If you do leave your home, make sure that carry current identification. You may have to pass through identification checkpoints before being allowed access back to your home/neighborhood.
- Avoid sightseeing or entering damaged areas unnecessarily. You could be mistaken for a looter.
- Avoid downed power lines even if they look harmless.
- Avoid metal fences and other metal objects near downed lines.
For more consumer education information about earthquakes visit www.flash.org.