Category Archives: Earthquake

Earthquakes Don’t Happen where I Live…Do They?


People from other states often ask us how we can live in “EarthquakeCounty”, akaCalifornia.  What they don’t know is that no part of theUnited Statesis free from earthquakes.  Just take a look at the list below showing where earthquakes with a magnitude of 3.0 or greater have occurred since December 31, 2011, in theUSA.  They are in every region!







New York



South Dakota






In August of 2011, there was a 5.8 inVirginiaand a 5.3 inColorado!  Fortunately, no one was killed in these earthquakes; however, there were injuries and costly property damage.

 Preparing before an Earthquake

 Since an earthquake can strike anywhere, everyone needs to know what to do to prepare.  First, make sure you are ready with emergency preparedness basics that are needed for any type of disaster. 

 Do you have:

  • Grab-&-go kits/72 hour kits that are stocked, ready and accessible for every member of your household, including pets?
  • Emergency food storage that has a long shelf life and is easy to prepare?  If you have canned food, make sure to have a manual can opener.  If you have dehydrated/freeze-dried food, increase the amount of water that you store, so that you don’t deplete all your water reconstituting the food.  Check the expiration dates on all stored food and replace as necessary.
  • Water for drinking, personal hygiene and sanitation?   Allow at least one gallon per person per day.  This is the bare minimum.  Store as much as you can.  If you have filled water barrels, replace the water in them every five years to ensure its quality.
  • A first aid kit?  Be sure to go through your first aid kit and replace any medical supplies that may have expired.  If you or a loved one require prescription medication, add some to your kit along with a copy of the prescription.  Copies of eye glass prescriptions are also a good idea.
  • An emergency communication plan?  Do you have a location to meet if the members of you household were not together when the earthquake occurred?  Does your family know how to get in touch with each other after the earthquake?  It’s best to have a contact out of the area that all family members know to call.  Remember, texting will function even if land lines and cell phones do not.  Texting works like a ham radio and continues to seek a working tower until your message can be sent.
  • An emergency gas/water shutoff tool.  Almost as important, do you know how to use it?

Strategies specifically for earthquake preparedness include:

 Securely fastening shelves and other tall pieces of furniture to the walls

  • Hanging large, heavy items, such as mirrors or artwork, away from beds and seating areas
  • Bracing overhead light fixtures
  • Storing breakable items, such as bottled foods, glass and china, in low, closed cabinets with latches
  • Placing large or heavy objects on lower shelves
  • Strapping the water heater to the wall studs and bolting it to the floor
  • Repairing defective electrical wiring and leaking gas connections, which are potential fire hazards

 What to Do During an Earthquake

 Remain calm!  Think through the consequences of all your actions.

  1. Stop, drop, cover, and hold on to something sturdy, where you are.
  2. If you are indoors, stay indoors.  Take cover under a heavy desk, table, bench, archway, alongside a sturdy wall or in a narrow hallway.  Stay away from windows and all other forms of glass, elevators, stairwells, and doorways with doors (doors can swing closed, causing injuries).
  3. If you are outdoors, stay outdoors.  Move away from buildings, roofs with clay tiles, antennas, or satellite dishes, large trees, signs, power lines, and any other utility wires or buildings on stilts.
  4. If you are in a crowded place, stay away from overhead walkways and do not rush for a doorway.  Take cover and move away from display shelves holding objects that can fall.
  5. If you are in a high-rise building, get under a sturdy desk or table away from windows and outside walls.  Stay in the building on the same floor.  An evacuation may not be necessary.  Be aware that the electricity may go out and that the sprinkler systems and fire alarms may go on.


After the initial quake, be prepared for aftershocks. Check for gas or water leaks, shutting utilities off if necessary.  Listen to your battery-powered, Dynamo or solar radio for updates and instructions.

ARTI: American Rescue Team International


1) Almost everyone who simply ‘ducks and covers’ when buildings collapse are most likely to survive. People who get under objects, like desks  have been known to survive. This was verified by members of the West Coast Recovery Team in Haiti. I personally viewed the films of some of the recues.  Nick johnston/editor

2) Cats, dogs and babies often naturally curl up in the fetal position. You
should too in an earthquake. It is a natural safety/survival instinct. That
position helps you survive in a smaller void. Get next to an object, next to a sofa, next to a large bulky object that will compress slightly but leave a void next to it.

3) Wooden buildings are the safest type of construction to be in during an earthquake. Wood is flexible and moves with the force of the earthquake. If the wooden building does collapse, large survival voids are created. Also, the wooden building has less concentrated, crushing weight. Brick buildings will break into individual bricks. Bricks will cause many injuries but less
squashed bodies than concrete slabs. Concrete slab buildings are the most dangerous during an earthquake.

4) If you are in bed during the night and an earthquake occurs, simply roll off the bed. A safe void will exist around the bed. Hotels can achieve a much greater survival rate in earthquakes, simply by posting a sign on the back of the door of every room telling occupants to lie down on the floor, next to the bottom of the bed during an earthquake.

5) If an earthquake happens and you cannot easily escape by getting out the door or window, then lie down and curl up in the fetal position next to a sofa, or large chair.

6) Almost everyone who gets under a doorway when buildings collapse is killed. How? If you stand under a doorway and the doorjamb falls forward or backward you will be crushed by the ceiling above. If the door jam falls sideways you will be cut in half by the doorway. In either case, you will be killed!

7) Never go to the stairs. The stairs have a different ‘moment of frequency (they swing separately from the main part of the building). The stairs and remainder of the building continuously bump into each other until structural failure of the stairs takes place. The people who get on stairs before they fail are chopped up by the stair treads ? horribly mutilated. Even if the building doesn’t collapse, stay away from the stairs. The stairs are a likely part of the building to be damaged. Even if the stairs are not collapsed by the earthquake, they may collapse later when overloaded by fleeing people. They should always be checked for safety, even when the rest of the building is not damaged.

8) Get Near the Outer Walls Of Buildings Or Outside Of Them If Possible – It is much better to be near the outside of the building rather than the interior. The farther inside you are from the outside perimeter of the building the greater the probability that your escape route will be blocked.

9) People inside of their vehicles are crushed when the road above falls in an earthquake and crushes their vehicles; which is exactly what happened with the slabs between the decks of the Nimitz Freeway. The victims of the San Francisco earthquake all stayed inside of their vehicles. They were all killed. They could have easily survived by getting out and lying in the fetal position next to their vehicles. Everyone killed would have survived if they had been able to get out of their cars and sit or lie next to them.
All the crushed cars had voids 3 feet high next to them, except for the cars that had columns fall directly across them.

10) I discovered, while crawling inside of collapsed newspaper offices and other offices with a lot of paper, that paper does not compact. Large voids are found surrounding stacks of paper.

In 1996 we made a film, which proved my survival methodology to be correct. The Turkish Federal Government, City of Istanbul , University of Istanbul Case Productions and ARTI cooperated to film this practical, scientific test. We collapsed a school and a home with 20 mannequins inside. Ten mannequins did ‘duck and cover,’ and ten mannequins I used in my ‘triangle of life’ survival method. After the simulated earthquake collapse we crawled through the rubble and entered the building to film and document the results.

The film, in which I practiced my survival techniques under directly
observable, scientific conditions, relevant to building collapse, showed
there would have been zero percent survival for those doing duck and cover.

There would likely have been 100 percent survivability for people using my method of the ‘triangle of life.’ This film has been seen by millions of
viewers on television in Turkey and the rest of Europe , and it was seen in the USA , Canada and Latin America on the TV program Real TV.

Spread the word and save someone’s life… The entire world is experiencing natural calamities so be prepared!

Quake Proof Your Life

Quake Proof Your Life 

There are fault zones in the United States other than the San Andreas in California. For instance the New Madrid Fault is under Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Arkansas, and another fault runs Westward from the coast of the Carolinas. Earthquakes can happen anywhere, anytime.  Some faults are unknown until they move.

During an Earthquake

  • When you feel an earthquake, duck under a desk or sturdy table. 
  • Stay away from windows, bookcases, file cabinets, heavy mirrors, hanging plants and other heavy objects that could fall. Watch out for falling plaster and ceiling tiles. Stay under cover until the shaking stops and hold onto your cover. If it moves, move with it. 
  • If you are in a HIGH-RISE BUILDING and not near a desk or table, move against an interior wall and protect your head with your arms. Do not use the elevators. 
  • Do not be surprised if the fire alarm or sprinkler systems come on. Stay indoors. Glass windows can dislodge during the quake and sail for hundreds of feet. 
  • If you’re OUTDOORS, move to a clear area away from trees, signs, buildings, electrical wires and poles. 
  • If you’re on a SIDEWALK NEAR BUILDINGS, duck into a doorway to protect yourself from falling bricks, glass, plaster and other debris. 
  • If you’re DRIVING, pull over to the side of the road and stop. Avoid overpasses, power lines and other hazards. Stay inside the vehicle until the shaking is over. 
  • If you’re in a CROWDED STORE OR OTHER PUBLIC PLACE, do not rush for the exit. Move away from display shelves containing objects that could fall.
  • If you’re in a WHEELCHAIR, stay in it. Move to cover, if possible. Lock your wheels and protect your head with your arms.
  •  If you’re in the KITCHEN, move away from the refrigerator, stove and overhead cupboards. (Take time now to anchor appliances and install security latches on cupboard doors to reduce hazards.) Make sure to secure the water heater also. 
  • If you’re in a STADIUM OR THEATER, stay in your seat and protect your head with yours arms. Do not try to leave until the shaking is over. Then leave in a calm, orderly manner. Avoid rushing toward an exit.

Know your environment 

Safest place in the home: During an earthquake, stay away from heavy furniture, appliances, large panes of glass, shelves holding heavy objects and masonry veneer (such as the fireplace). These items tend to fall or break and can injure you. Usually, a hallway is one of the safest places if it is not crowded with objects. Kitchens and garages tend to be the most dangerous. Also, know the safest place in each room. Moving from one place to another during a severe earthquake will be difficult.

Exits and alternative exits: Always know all the possible ways to exit your house and workplace in emergencies. Try to discover exits that would be available to you in an emergency.

Locations of shutoff valves: Know the locations of the shut off valves for water, gas and electricity. Learn how to operate the valves. If not sure, contact your utility company. Note: For electricity, trip/turn off each individual circuit breaker before turning off the main power switch.

 Make special provisions 

Elderly, disabled person’s medication: These people may have difficulty moving around after an earthquake. Plan to have someone help them evacuate. Also, they may need special foods or medication. Be sure to store several days’ supply of these special provisions.

People who don’t speak English: People who cannot speak English often rely on their family or friends for information. If they are separated during an earthquake, they may need help. Prepare emergency information cards written in English indicating identification, address and special needs, which they can carry in their wallets or purses.

Pets: After an earthquake, you should be concerned with your own safety before taking care of your pets. Storing extra food and water for pets is always a good idea. Keep pets in a secure place at home after an earthquake. If you are evacuated, pets may not be allowed at the emergency shelter. Some cities and communities have pet evacuation centers.

Know your community 

Police and fire: Know the locations of the nearest police and fire stations. Be aware that the local fire stations will probably be empty and locked up for days after a major earthquake.

After a damaging earthquake, emergency temporary medical centers will be set up in your community. Contact your local and state Office of Emergency Services to find out the plans for your area.

Community plans: Know your neighbors and their skills. You may be able to help each other after an earthquake. Also, find out where to go to help your community after a disaster. Learn first aid and CPR. Days may pass before outside emergency assistance arrives. It is important to help each other and volunteering will lift your spirits.

Ask your neighbor(s) if they or anyone else in your neighborhood is a trained CERT (Certified Emergency Rescue Team) member. If not, ask your local fire department when the next training class will be held. The classes are free, and you will receive a certificate upon graduation.

Plan to meet

Plan to reunite:  Make a plan on where and how to unite with family members. Choose a person outside the immediate area or out of your state to contact if family members are separated. Long distance phone service probably will be restored sooner than local service.

Plan responsibilities: There will be many things to take care of after an earthquake. Make a plan with your family, friends and neighbors, assigning specific responsibilities to each person. Remember getting around may be difficult, so each person’s tasks should be related to where they may be.

Develop a message drop: You need to identify a secure location outside your home where family members can leave messages for each other. This way, if you’re separated and unable to remain in your home, your family will know where to find you. You don’t want to publicize that you are not at home, which is why this location should be secure and discreet. Some places to consider include under a paving stone, inside a tin can, in the back yard,