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How to be earthquake-ready in SC

By Jan Joslin | October 20, 2021

October 21 is International ShakeOut Day, and a great time to learn how to stay safe in an earthquake.

The last big earthquake in Charleston was in 1886 and was a 7.3 magnitude, but the area experienced three small quakes on Sept. 27 this year, with the largest being magnitude 3.3.

Do you know what to do in the event of an earthquake? Preparations now can help you make it safely through an earthquake and the days afterward.

Think Drop, Cover, and Hold if you feel the ground begin to shake. Drop to your hands and knees and seek cover under a sturdy piece of furniture. Protect your neck with one of your hands, and use the other hand to hold on to the piece of furniture so you can move with it. If you can’t get under a piece of furniture, stay close to an inside wall, away from windows, and try to protect your head and neck.

After the quake, stay where you are until you can assess the situation. Only leave the building if the building is damaged and unsafe. The danger in leaving or entering a building after an earthquake is the hazard of falling debris on the outside of buildings. If you are in a car, stop the car and stay in it.

In general, preparation for earthquakes includes looking for heavy items that could fall. Relocate them to a lower shelf. Limit the items that could fall on you during the night. Have a flashlight with fully charged batteries on hand. A basic first aid kit and some ready-to-eat food and bottled water are good items to have at all times. 

Learn more about earthquake and other disaster preparedness guidance for our area at scemd.org. For ShakeOut videos and information, go to shakeout.org.


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