Staying safe during earthquakes

Special to The Dallas Examiner | 1/19/2015, 8:31 a.m. | Updated on 1/19/2015, 8:31 a.m.
City officials have expressed growing concerns regarding the frequency of earthquakes in Dallas County and the safety of local residents ...
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Special to The Dallas Examiner

City officials have expressed growing concerns regarding the frequency of earthquakes in Dallas County and the safety of local residents and buildings.

County Judge Jenkins, who is also the director of Dallas County Homeland Security and Emergency Management, hosted a conference call with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Texas Department of Emergency Management, the U.S. Geological Survey, Southern Methodist University and approximately 50 emergency managers from across North Texas on Jan. 9. USGS and SMU scientists informed the group that due to the relatively shallow nature of the earthquakes recently experienced on the Dallas-Irving line in Dallas County, earthquakes registering in the mid-4’s on the Richter scale could cause structural damage.

Unreinforced masonry buildings are most vulnerable. An accurate prediction as to when these events will end, when another earthquake will occur, or the likelihood of a larger earthquake cannot be made at this time with the information available to the USGS and SMU.

“I encourage our residents to review important earthquake preparedness and safety information from FEMA and the American Red Cross and plan accordingly,” Jenkins said.

Here are some important earthquake preparedness tips:

• Have an emergency kit that includes items such as bottled water, several days’ worth of food, a flashlight, a first aid kit, pet food and a battery powered radio (for full list go to http://www.Ready.gov)

• Fasten shelves, mirrors and other heavy objects securely to walls

• Place large or heavy objects on lower shelves

• Locate safe spots in each room under a sturdy table or against an inside wall

• Hold earthquake drills with your family members: Drop, cover and hold on!

  1. DROP to your hands and knees.

  2. COVER your head and neck with your arms and only move if you need to get away from the danger of falling objects.

  3. HOLD ON to any sturdy shelter until the shaking stops.

If you find yourself in an earthquake, it’s important to remember these DOs and DO NOTs:

• DO drop, cover and hold on!

• DO stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls.

• DO NOT get in a doorway.

• DO stay inside until the shaking stops.

• DO NOT use the elevators.

• If outside, DO move away from buildings, streetlights and utility wires.

Find more information on how to prepare for and respond to an earthquake at the following websites:

• http://www.ready.gov (Spanish language site http://www.Listo.gov)

• http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/earthquake

• http://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/20130726-1508-20490-0627/fema_b_526_eng_r1.pdf