Twentynine palms -- An earthquake is the sudden, rapid shaking of the earth caused by breaking and shifting subterranean rock as it releases strain that has accumulated over a long period of time. Although earthquakes are often known to occur in the West Coast, the natural disaster can happen at any time anywhere in the United States.
As a part of the Presidential Policy Plan Directive-8: National Preparedness, a directive passed in 2011, the Combat Center is participating in September’s National Preparedness Month. During the third week of September, G-7, Mission Assurance, has focused on earthquake preparedness.
The first step you should take to be prepared for an earthquake is to register with local emergency alert systems or Marine Corps Enterprise Mass Notification System to receive emergency alerts. It is also important to have an evacuation and communication plan for the workplace as well as at home. Most importantly, take the time to prepare by building an emergency kit that includes sturdy shoes to protect you from any possible broken glass.
If there is an earthquake, stop what you are doing and, if possible, drop to the ground, take cover under a table or a sturdy piece of furniture and hold on until the shaking stops. Make sure to stay clear of any windows, unstable furniture or anything that could possibly fall.
Once the shaking has stopped, do not spark an open flame, there may be gas leaks in the area. Check yourself and others for injuries, then follow your command’s protocol for personnel accountability. Next, look for and extinguish small fires, as this tends to be the most common hazard after an earthquake. Ensure you stay tuned to the radio and emergency alert system for further information and instructions. Expect an aftershock, which can happen days after the initial earthquake. If an aftershock happens, drop, cover, and hold on.
If a severe enough earthquake occurs in a populated area, it may cause death, injuries and extensive property damage. It is important to be prepared and always plan ahead.
For more information on National Preparedness Month, or on how to prepare for an earthquake, visit ready.marines.mil.