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As an emergency manger for a New Madrid Seismic Zone State, as well as someone that grew up near the fault line, I take the threat of earthquake pretty seriously.

What bothers me most about earthquakes is the lack of warning coupled with the possible destruction.  Short of moving, there really isn’t anything you can do to reduce your risk of earthquakes, but you can follow the tips below to mitigate the damage from an earthquake:

Fasten shelves securely to walls and brace overhead fixtures.

  • Place large or heavy objects on lower shelves.
  • Store any breakable items in latched cabinets.
  • Hang pictures and mirrors away from beds, couches, and anywhere people sit.
  • Repair defective electrical wiring and leaky gas connections. These are potential fire risks.
  • Strap your water heater to the wall studs and/or bolt it to the floor.
  • Repair any deep cracks in ceilings or foundations.
  • Store any hazardous and/or flammable chemicals on the bottom shelf of lockable cabinets.
  • Know safe places – inside: under sturdy furniture, against an inside wall, away from glass; outside:  away from buildings, trees, telephone and electrical lines, overpasses, or elevated expressways.
  • Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as the “family contact.” After a disaster, it’s often easier to call long distance – and there’s less chance this contact has been affected by the same disaster.

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