What Do You Do If the Floor Starts Shaking?

What Do You Do If the Floor Starts Shaking?

A 5.8 magnitude earthquake rocks the East Coast. Plan ahead to protect you and your loved ones if it happens again.

Published August 23, 2011

“I know that it has been a busy day, but am I dizzy or is the floor shaking?” were my thoughts around 1:51 p.m. Little did I know, an earthquake shook the mid-Atlantic region of the United States hitting areas from North Carolina to my office here at BET.com in New York, to as far as Ottawa, Canada.


Some colleagues nervously compared our evacuation journey down the 27 flights of stairs in our Times Square skyscraper building to the trip many took almost 10 years ago in the evacuation of the World Trade Center.


Thankfully no one was injured and the quake lasted just up to 45 seconds, but the hundreds of responses and reactions on twitter would have had one thinking that it was much longer.


“It felt so weird to feel the earthquake...I'm not used to this...#Michigandertweet!” said @Tati817.


“…that's where my parents live! I called my mom and she said the house shook,” read one of my co-worker’s, @Terry_McFly, tweet of the 5.8 magnitude that hit in Virginia.


Some dogs reportedly started barking uncontrollably about two hours before the hit, but if you don’t have that sixth sense of identifying shocks and you’re not sure what to do before, during or after an earthquake, FEMA offers these tips:




Check for Hazards in the Home

—Fasten shelves securely to walls.

—Place large or heavy objects on lower shelves.

—Store breakable items such as bottled foods, glass and china in low, closed cabinets with latches.


Identify Safe Places Indoors and Outdoors

—Under sturdy furniture such as a heavy desk or table.

—Against an inside wall.


Have Disaster Supplies on Hand

—Flashlight and extra batteries.

—Portable battery-operated radio and extra batteries.




If indoors

—DROP to the ground; take COVER by getting under a sturdy table or other piece of furniture; and HOLD ON until the shaking stops. If there isn’t a table or desk near you, cover your face and head with your arms and crouch in an inside corner of the building.


—Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls, and anything that could fall, such as lighting fixtures or furniture.


—DO NOT use the elevators.


If outdoors

—Stay there.


—Move away from buildings, streetlights and utility wires.


—Once in the open, stay there until the shaking stops. The greatest danger exists directly outside buildings, at exits and alongside exterior walls.




Expect aftershocks. These secondary shockwaves are usually less violent than the main quake but can be strong enough to do additional damage to weakened structures and can occur in the first hours, days, weeks or even months after the quake.


Listen to a battery-operated radio or television. Listen for the latest emergency information.


Use the telephone only for emergency calls.


For more tips visit here.


To share story ideas with Danielle Wright, follow and tweet her at @DaniWrightTV.





(Photo: AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Written by Danielle Wright


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