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Precautions In Case of Earthquakes

The Dallas area has been jolted by an amazing number of small earthquakes over the past couple of months. For people here and in other earthquake-prone areas, I am reprinting a memo received today from our building management company. Please take precautions.

Tenants of Trinity Towers

Yesterday, January 6, 2015, four to nine earthquakes hit the Irving area. Many of you felt them here at the building. We would like to pass along the following information for your consideration.

Several news agencies reported on these earthquakes:

In response to these earthquakes we would like to share with you some information on earthquake safety and preparedness.

Our emergency preparedness manual has this information:


  • Know how and where to take cover during a quake.
  • Anchor bookcases, cabinets, and files over 42 inches. Do not stack furniture.
  • Move tall furniture away from exits. Do not use tall furniture as room dividers.
  • Secure computers, equipment, and display cases. Store heavy items at floor level and back-up data and sensitive information, store duplicates off-site. Communicate these important preparedness measures to your employees, vendors, and management staff. Your level of readiness for an emergency situation depends not only on having an up-to-date plan document, but also on keeping your constituents aware of their personal responsibility for safety.


  • Take cover immediately, direct others around you.
  • Under a desk, table, or chair.
  • Between seating rows in lecture halls.
  • Against a corridor wall (cover head and neck).
  • Outdoors–in open area, away from buildings.
  • Be alert for aftershocks, avoid potential falling hazards MINOR QUAKE (brief rolling motion).
  • Restore calm. Examine your area for damage.
  • Report damage/hazardous materials releases.
  • Review safety procedures and kits.
  • Await instructions, evacuations are unlikely.

MAJOR QUAKE (violent shaking)

  • Restore calm. Assist others.
  • Report injuries to 911.
  • Report damage to Building Management Office.
  • Evacuate carefully, be alert for aftershocks.
  • Take emergency supplies.
  • Do not use elevators.
  • Meet at Emergency Assembly Point (EAP).
  • Do not enter buildings until they are examined.
  • Report status to Emergency Operations Center.
  • Await instructions, be patient, help others.

In the event an earthquake, remain calm and call 911.

  • IF INDOORS, seek refuge in a doorway or under a desk or table. Stay away from glass windows,shelves, and heavy equipment.
  • IF OUTDOORS, move quickly away from buildings, utility poles and other structures. CAUTION: Always avoid power or utility lines and trees as they can be energized.
  • If in an automobile, stop in the safest place available, preferably away from power lines and trees. Stop as quickly as safety permits, but stay in the vehicle for the shelter it offers.
  • After the initial shock, evaluate the situation and, if emergency help is necessary call 911 for assistance. Protect yourself at all times and be prepared for after-shocks.
  • Damaged facilities should be reported to the police and the property management office. NOTE: Gas leaks and power failures create special hazards. Please note any odor and report this immediately.
  • If an emergency exists, activate the building fire alarm. CAUTION: THE BUILDING ALARM RINGS ONLY IN THE BUILDING WHERE THE ALARM STATION IS LOCATED.
  • When the building evacuation alarm is sounded, walk to the nearest marked EXIT and ask others to do the same.
  • Once outside move to a clear area that has not been compromised. If possible, move to an open area away from imposing building structures. Keep streets, fire lanes, hydrants, and walkways clear for emergency vehicles and crews.
  • If requested and able, assist Emergency crews as necessary.
  • An Emergency Command Post may be set up near the disaster site. Keep clear of this post unless you have official business.

DO NOT RETURN TO AN EVACUATED BUILDING. Further information can be found online. Here are some examples:

The Centers for Disease Control – – has information on safety and general preparedness (including home), before, during and after an earthquake. They recommend these actions to take during an earthquake:

  • DROP down onto your hands and knees before the earthquake would knock you down. This position protects you from falling but still allows you to move if necessary.
  • COVER your head and neck (and your entire body if possible) under the shelter of a sturdy table or desk. If there is no shelter nearby, get down near an interior wall or next to low-lying furniture that won’t fall on you, and cover your head and neck with your arms and hands. Try to stay clear of windows or glass that could shatter or objects that could fall on you.
  • HOLD ON to your shelter (or to your head and neck) until the shaking stops. Be prepared to move with your shelter if the shaking shifts it around.For commercial office spaces or other public places, they note:
    • Impaired mobility – If you cannot drop to the ground, try to sit or remain seated so you are not knocked down. If you are in a wheelchair lock your wheels. Protect your head and neck with a large book, a pillow, or your arms. The goal is to prevent injuries from falling down or from objects that might fall or be thrown at you.
    • High-Rise Buildings – Drop, cover, and hold on. Move away from windows and outside walls. Stay in the building. The electricity may go out, and the sprinkler systems may come on. DO NOT use the elevators. If you are trapped stay calm. Try to get someone s attention by tapping hard or metal parts of the structure. That may increase your chances of being rescued.
    • Crowded Indoor Public Places – Drop, cover, and hold on. Do not rush for the doorways. Others will have the same idea. Move away from display shelves containing objects that may fall. If you can, take cover and grab something to shield your head and face from falling debris and glass.

The Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) had this about earthquake safety for employers:

The following Q&A was part of Disaster Recovery: Strategies for Making Buildings Operational Quickly, a BOMA/BOMI Audio/Web seminar hosted by Jim Weller and Ronald W. Hertwig, Jr., PE of the General Services Administration and John J. Carde of the Trammell Crow Company.

Can you identify the 3 most important things to do in each of the following – 1) before 2) during 3) after the disaster?


  1. Establish and confirm communication plans and equipment, account for your people— safety—prepare your buildings.
  2. Account for your staff—safety—establish communications with your customers if possible, wait for the event to pass.
  3. Account for your staff—safety—make a quick assessment to minimize further damage if possible, prioritize your work effort.

Trammell Crow:

  1. Continuously revisit your plan and make any adjustments for the upcoming event.
  2. Make sure your people are out of harms way.
  3. Execute Plan and make sure everyone is accounted for. Preparedness-and-Recovery.aspx

As always, please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono at

Bob Kraft

I am a Dallas, Texas lawyer who has had the privilege of helping thousands of clients since 1971 in the areas of Personal Injury law and Social Security Disability.

About This Blog

The title of this blog reflects my attitude toward those government agencies and insurance companies that routinely mistreat injured or disabled people. As a Dallas, Texas lawyer, I've spent more than 45 years trying to help those poor folk, and I have been frustrated daily by the actions of the people on the other side of their claims. (Sorry if I offended you...)

If you find this type of information interesting or helpful, please visit my law firm's main website at You will find many more articles and links. Thank you for your time.

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