The Aftermath: How to Stay Safe After an Earthquake

Earthquakes can strike at any moment with little to no warning, and, as we’ve covered in an earlier blog, it’s likely that the West Coast will face high-magnitude earthquakes in the coming year. We’ve previously discussed how you can prepare for a potential earthquake and minimize the property damage and injuries, but what are the steps to take after an earthquake? Once the quake has ended, the recovery process is only just beginning: from assessing injuries to repairing damaged property to dealing with the potential business interruption, there are many things to consider when recovering from an earthquake. Protect your business with Earthquake Insurance and make sure you’re prepared to jump into action once the shaking has subsided.

Prepare for aftershocks.

While the initial quake is often the most dangerous, be prepared for aftershocks, and don’t think that you’re safe after a few minutes; FEMA reports that they can occur within hours or be delayed until several days, weeks, or months after the initial earthquake. If you are at your workplace or any large, heavily-occupied public place, the moments after the initial quake are the time to evacuate if necessary. Have an evacuation plan made well before an earthquake occurs, and make sure that everyone knows where to go, when to go, and how to safely communicate with others. In addition, if you’re located in a coastal area, be aware of the potential for tsunamis following particularly heavy earthquakes.

Check on utilities.

An earthquake alone is already a potentially deadly disaster, and line damages can lead to subsequent fires or leaks that can cause further damage. After an earthquake, no matter how minor, check on your gas, electric, sewer, or water lines (or have a professional inspection) for damages. If anything is damaged, immediately shut the valve off, and be prepared to evacuate if you smell gas or see any additional hazards.

Safely assess the damage.

Even if the shaking has completely stopped, you’re not yet in the clear. Inspecting a damaged property can be dangerous, and it is not something that should be done on a whim. We recommend having a professional come to inspect your property for damages and structural safety. If the building is particularly damaged, do not enter it at all without the go-ahead from a professional. If anyone is injured, be sure to provide them with first aid at the earliest opportunity. In this age of cellular phones, use them to communicate with others and monitor news on the earthquake. Do not use a landline phone unless it is an absolute emergency.

About The Insurance Store

The Insurance Store was created to bring ease and agility to Surplus Lines coverage placement for agents serving commercial and personal lines clients in specific regions throughout the country. We provide a wide variety of packages for hard-to-place products and risks that include earthquakes, floods, hail, and more. To learn more about how we can protect you in the event of an unforeseen event, contact us today at (425) 313-9605.

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