The probability for an earthquake of magnitude 6.0 or greater in the central U.S. is significant—a 25-40% chance of occurrence in any 50 year time period. An earthquake with a magnitude equal to that of the 1811- 1812 events could result in great loss of life and billions of dollars in economic losses. Scientists believe we may be overdue for a large earthquake and through proactive risk reduction measures, we can prevent many deaths, injuries, and property damages from occurring when the next one strikes.
By learning about potential earthquake hazards in your area and taking certain preparedness measures now, you can increase your chances of surviving an earthquake and minimize its dangerous and damaging impact.
The actual movement of the ground in an earthquake is seldom the direct cause of death or injury. Most casualties result from falling objects and debris which is a result of the earthquake shaking. The duration and amount of shaking associated with an earthquake as well as the age and construction type of a structure greatly determines the amount of damage that may result. Older structures built with little or no seismic design will be the first structures to be tested by an earthquake. Earthquakes can also cause secondary effects such as fires, liquefaction and landslides.
While earthquakes most often occur with little to no warning, there are steps you can take to protect yourself and your family. By taking action today, you can reduce your vulnerability to earthquakes that may happen in the future. Find out how you can stay safe before, during, and after earthquakes with the Seven Steps to Earthquake Safety.