If you’re inside a building and an earthquake starts shaking your world, don’t run outside.
Rather, remember not to panic and then take cover under a desk or table, or inside a wall, advises Maralin Y. Hoff, commonly known as Utah’s Earthquake Lady.
Attempting to leave a building during an earthquake could mean being struck by falling ceiling tiles, glass or other debris, she told the Davis County Community of Promise earlier this month.
Hoff has spent decades gathering information on how to prepare for an earthquake and has shared ways to react that should maximize safety.
“Talk to your family about these things,” Huff emphasized. “We take it for granted that things like this don’t happen here.”
Decide on an out-of-area contact phone number of a relative that family members can call should they be separated when an earthquake strikes, she said.
Disasters can include TRAX or FrontRunner being shut down temporarily Р up to many hours Р due to a calamity, Huff said.
If driving, it would likely take a few seconds to realize what’s happening when an earthquake begins because a car is in motion, she said.
“You think you’re stuck in time,” he said. “The trees are moving but it’s not windy. It’s going to seem like slow motion.
Motorists should stay in their vehicles. Tires and shocks give protection, she said.
After the shaking stops, check for downed wires and other debris.
“You may not get very far. The freeway will become a parking lot. Do not leave your vehicle,” she said. “(The Utah Department of Transportation) and the highway patrol will route cars off onto emergency lanes. It may take hours and hours.”
That’s when an emergency kit can be invaluable. Huff advises having an umbrella, jackets, blankets and spare walking shoes, should walking several miles to get somewhere safe be required.
Age-appropriate games and activities should also be kept in the emergency kit, plus medications, hearing aids and denture supplies, if needed, she said.
Keep a container of water in your purse or backpack at all times. Carry it on the train, keep water in your car, rotating it regularly, as well as at home, she said.
An emergency blanket and shovel should also be carried in your car. Compact, light models are available from camping departments in many stores, Huff said.
“The emergency blanket looks like tin foil,” she said. “You can stay warm. Firefighters use them.”
Band Aids, safety pins, compact flashlights or crank radios should be kept at home, in the car and at work, Huff said.
For more information, visit BeReadyUtah.gov. Huff is a community outreach specialist with the Utah Division of Emergency Management. She will speak to church, civic, school and service organizations. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.