On August 23, 2011 at approximately 1:50pm, an earthquake hit Mineral, Virginia which has been felt in Laurel, MD, Washington, DC and as far as New York. Varied reports indicate it ranged from 5.8 – 6.0. City Officials have asked each Department to inspect City infrastructure/facilities for any possible damage. There have been no reports of damage as of the issue of this press release. The City recommends that each resident or business conduct a visual inspection for possible damage. With the potential for aftershocks, after such a high magnitude earthquake, following are some tips to better prepare yourselves in case more tremors occur in the Metro area:
• DROP to the ground; take COVER by getting under a sturdy table or other piece of furniture; and HOLD ON until the shaking stops. If there isn’t a table or desk near you, cover your face and head with your arms and crouch in an inside corner of the building.
• Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and anything that could fall, such as lighting fixtures or furniture.
• Stay in bed if you are there when the earthquake strikes. Hold on and protect your head with a pillow, unless you are under a heavy light fixture that could fall. In that case, move to the nearest safe place.
• Use a doorway for shelter only if it is in close proximity to you and if you know it is a strongly supported, loadbearing doorway.
• Stay inside until the shaking stops and it is safe to go outside. Research has shown that most injuries occur when people inside buildings attempt to move to a different location inside the building or try to leave.
• Be aware that the electricity may go out or the sprinkler systems or fire alarms may turn on.
• DO NOT use the elevators.
• Stay there.
• Move away from buildings, streetlights, and utility wires overhead signs etc..
• Once in the open, stay there until the shaking stops. The greatest danger exists directly outside buildings, at exits and alongside exterior walls. Many of the 120
fatalities from the 1933 Long Beach earthquake occurred when people ran outside of buildings only to be killed by falling debris from collapsing walls. Ground movement during an earthquake is seldom the direct cause of death or injury. Most earthquake-related casualties result from collapsing walls, flying glass, and falling objects.
If in a moving vehicle
• Stop as quickly as safety permits and stay in the vehicle. Avoid stopping near or under buildings, trees, overpasses, and utility wires.
• Proceed cautiously once the earthquake has stopped. Avoid roads, bridges, or ramps that might have been damaged by the earthquake.
If trapped under debris
• Do not light a match.
• Do not move about or kick up dust.
• Cover your mouth with a handkerchief or clothing.
• Tap on a pipe or wall so rescuers can locate you. Use a whistle if one is available. Shout only as a last resort. Shouting can cause you to inhale dangerous amounts of dust.
The safety of the City of Laurel’s residents is always a top priority. Experiencing an earthquake can be a daunting ordeal, mentally and physically, but we hope that some of these tips will help you get through. First and foremost, if you need emergency service, please call Emergency Personnel. Following are those numbers that you need to keep close at hand.
The Laurel Police Emergency phone number is 301-725-3000. The Fire Department and Rescue Squad can be reached by calling 911. The Laurel Police Non-Emergency number is 301-498-0092 and their TDD line for the Hearing Impaired is 301-498-7735. The City of Laurel Government can be reached at 301-725-5300 and their TDD line for the Hearing Impaired is 301-490-4964. BGE can be reached at 1-877-778-2222.
Please visit the City of Laurel’s website, www.laurel.md.us, and read more on what you can do in case of a natural or man-made emergency.