Once the shaking stops, there are earthquake hazards to be aware of.
If you smell an odor or hear the hissing sound of leaking natural gas, turn it off. Purchase a manual gas shut off wrench and keep it on hand in case of a disaster. Natural gas leaks are one of the major earthquake hazards. Take your wrench to the main gas valve and turn it counterclockwise. When the time comes to turn the gas back on, always have the gas company do it.
If you notice any damage done to electrical wiring in your home after an earthquake, turn off the power at the main breaker. Be sure you know where your power box is. Make sure that the power stays off until all repairs are made. If you notice utility lines that are down, stay away from them. Do not touch the power lines or any objects that are touching them.
Earthquake hazards include spilled items such as drugs, medicines and other substances. There are some dangerous liquids that can be spilled such as bleach, garden chemicals, paint, gasoline and other flammable liquids. Cover these spilled liquids with a layer of dirt or other absorbent material such as cat litter, if you have any.
Your home might be seriously damaged during an earthquake. Even if structures are still standing after the shaking stops, they may be weakened. Aftershocks can cause weakened chimneys or walls to fall. If you are cold and are tempted to use a damaged fireplace, resist the temptation. This could trap gases in the home or cause a fire.
One of the most dangerous earthquake hazards is fire. Try to put out any small fires in your home or in the neighborhood so that they will not spread. The fire department will be busy, so try to do as much as you can on your own. Evacuate in the event that the fire is too big to put out.
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