Preparation is key – especially when the earth moves

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  • 71st Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- Singer-songwriter Carole King’s 1971 hit, “I Feel the Earth Move,” rivals “Oklahoma” as the most appropriate state song, considering the 907 magnitude 3 and higher earthquakes recorded here in 2015.

As part of America’s PrepareAthon 2016, the emergency management experts with the 71st Installation Support Squadron offer tips on dealing with one of Oklahoma’s potential emergencies – earthquakes.

Earthquakes are sudden rolling or shaking events caused by movement under the earth’s surface, said Senior Airman Zachary Paskovitch, 71st ISS Emergency Management Plans & Operations.

They affect all 50 states and five U.S. territories and can happen any time of the year. And unlike tornadoes, there is no advanced warning, said Paskovitch.

Surviving a significant earthquake depends on familiarization with your surroundings and remembering what to do, and as important, what not to do.

Take time to identify safe, sturdy places in areas you frequent. Spend some time securing heavy objects in your home and office that can easily fall when the shaking starts.

When you feel the earth move, stay in your safe spot and don’t move until the shaking stops. Cover your head and neck with your arms as added protection.

If in your vehicle, stop and don’t get out. The vehicle can offer some protection against falling debris.

After an earthquake, evacuate buildings and move to an open space outside away from structures. If you are trapped inside, limit movement so you don’t cause further collapse of the structure. Rescue workers will find you.

Oklahoma recorded 109 magnitude 3+ earthquakes in 2013, 907 in 2015, and the count is projected to be even higher in 2016.

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