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Earthquakes are one of the nation's most frightening natural phenomena. When an earthquake occurs, the ground will shake perceptibly for a relatively short time. Earthquakes generally last for a few seconds but great earthquakes can last up to a minute.

Procedures to following during the earthquake:

  • Try to remain calm and reassure others.
  • If you are indoors, move immediately to a safe place. Get under a desk, table, or work bench if possible. Stand in an interior doorway or in the corner of a room. Watch out for falling debris or tall furniture. Stay away from windows and heavy objects (such as refrigerators and machinery) that may topple or slide across the floor.
  • Do not dash for exits since stairways may be broken and jammed with people. Power for elevators may fail and stop operating. Seek safety where you are at the time of the incident and then leave calmly if evacuation is necessary.
  • Do not be surprised if the electricity goes out, or if elevator, fire and burglar alarms start ringing, or if sprinkler systems go on. Expect to hear noise from breaking glass, cracks in walls and falling objects.
  • If you are outdoors, try to get into an open area away from buildings and power lines.
  • Do not be surprised if you feel more than one shock. After the first motion is felt, there may be a temporary decrease in the motion followed by another shock. (This phenomenon is merely the arrival of different seismic waves from the same earthquake). Also, aftershocks may occur -- these are separate quakes, which follow the main shock. Aftershocks may occur several minutes, several hours, or even several days afterwards. Sometimes aftershocks will cause damage or collapse of structures that were already weakened by the main earthquake.

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