Yes, even in NYC, you (and your apartment) should be ready for an earthquake

By Virginia K. Smith  | October 16, 2014 - 11:59AM

We thought earthquakes were the one natural disaster we didn't have to worry about in New York—that quake in 2011 was awfully small, and even the city's all-time biggest shake-up in 1884 was only a 5.2 on the Richter Scale. Still, today marks the Great NorthEast ShakeOut, a government-sponsored multi-state earthquake drill (if you missed the suggested drill this morning, you can watch this short video for instructions on "drop, cover, and hold on" protocol).

Below, some easy safety tips to follow for making your apartment less vulnerable in the event of an actual "shakeout":

  • Make sure that bookcases and other top-heavy pieces of furniture or appliances are secured to the wall so they can't topple over if the building starts shaking.
  • Store your heavier items on lower shelves whenever possible—no one wants a crock pot to come flying off the highest shelf in the kitchen, after all.
  • Be careful where you hang heavy pieces of art or anything framed—it's best not to put them on walls directly above where you sleep or sit in the apartment.

And after an earthquake:

  • Move carefully around your apartment in case anything has come loose and could fall from the walls or high shelves.
  • If you smell gas, turn your building's gas off (if you can) and call 911 from outside the building.
  • Open cabinets and closets carefully, as you would an airline overhead bin—"contents may have shifted" during the quake.
  • Check for wires that may have become damaged or frayed during the shaking.


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