If by “short-term effects,” you mean “harm to me or the people in my immediate surroundings,” here’s a few:
1. Know that if you are in bed, you should stay there. Most people become injured during an earthquake because something falls and hits them (if it’s over the head, this could be fatal). Your bed is pretty safe unless your whole building is going down, and if that’s the case, there’s not a lot you can do anyway. As a general rule, the newer the structure, the safer.
2. Know that if an earthquake occurs, you should not stand in the doorway. Instead, find a table or desk and get under it. Make sure your head is covered and hold on.
3. Know that if you’re outside, you should get out of the way of things that could fall over. If you are driving, pull over and wait for the shaking to stop, away from bridges and freeways. Do not get out of the car, as you are safer inside of it.
2. Keep a flashlight, shoes, and a water bottle next to your bed — most earthquakes occur when we sleep because we spend a lot of time sleeping.
3. Make sure that there aren’t a lot of things that are heavy and high up in your house. These are the most likely things that will fall, and again, that’s the most likely way you will be hurt.
4. Keep some emergency money — if there’s a serious earthquake, the banks may not be open and the supermarket may not be able to take your credit card.
5. Make sure you have water — the water may not be back on for several days. Most adults require 1 gallon per day, and the water may not come back on for up to five days.
6. Have a plan about where you’re going to go if your house is unsafe, and share it with the people you live with/care about. It may be extremely difficult to contact people if there is a large earthquake, so knowing beforehand that you’re supposed to meet up is important.
7. Earthquake-proof your house — brace your heavy furniture against the wall, and make sure your gas appliances and water heater are braced against your house.
Knowledge is power when it comes to earthquakes. If you know you live along a fault, planning ahead will get you pretty far.
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