Dos and don'ts of earthquake safety

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Updated: 10/15/2012 6:07 pm
RENO, Nev. (KRNV & -- With all the small quakes in Spanish Springs, the timing of the Great Nevada ShakeOut couldn't be better. It's the state's largest earthquake drill and experts gave News 4 some dos and don'ts of earthquake safety.

"Earthquakes are very rare events, but they're probably one of our most dangerous and have widespread effects and effect anybody," said Sandy Munns, City of Reno emergency manger. 

Munns and Associate Director of the Nevada Seismological Laboratory Ken Smith say it's important to know what you're going to do before a quake happens.

"You want to get together with your family and decide what you're going to do, where you're going to meet if there's an event," Smith said. "Cell phones may be out. Power may be out."
Once you have a place, you need supplies. Smith recommends safety kits and enough food and water to survive for three days.

You also need to know what to do once the ground starts to shake. 

"We want to get the message across for one of the simplest things to protect lives and minimize injuries: drop, cover and hold on," Munns said. 

"Stay in a secure spot," Smith said. "Let the stuff fall and fly around, and when the shaking is over, then you're free to get up."

Knowing what to do in a quake is vital - but knowing what not to do might be even more important.

"Don't go outside," Munns said. "If you're inside of a structure, stay inside. Very few structures collapse."

You might have heard to get to a doorway, but it's not actually safe - it's a rumor based on a photo.

"Somebody was standing in a door frame and the rest of the structure had collapsed, and they went 'oh that must be the safe place,'" Munns said. "It's become like an urban legend, but it's not true."

So remember: stay inside then drop, cover and hold on until the quake is over.

Nevada's largest earthquake drill - the Great ShakeOut - is this Thursday, Oct. 18 at 10:18 a.m. 
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