Many Virginians remember where they were and how they reacted on August 23, 2011, when an historic 5.8 earthquake centered in Louisa County. Although we do not experience earthquakes often in Virginia, that day is a reminder that we need to be prepared and know what to do. October is Earthquake Preparedness Month. If the ground starts shaking, what do you do? Drop, Cover and Hold On! Earthquakes happen without warning, and the shaking may be so severe that you cannot run or crawl. DROP to the ground. Take COVER by getting under a sturdy desk or table, and HOLD ON to it until the shaking stops.
It is important to know where you should go for protection when your home starts to shake. By planning and practicing what to do before an earthquake occurs, you can condition yourself and your family to react correctly and spontaneously when the first jolt or shaking is felt. An earthquake drill can teach your family what to do in an earthquake.
- Each family member should know safe spots in each room.
- Safe spots: The best places to be are under heavy pieces of furniture, such as a desk or sturdy table; under supported archways; and against inside walls.
- Danger spots: Stay away from windows, hanging objects, mirrors, fireplaces, and tall unsecured pieces of furniture.
- Reinforce this knowledge by physically placing yourself in the safe locations. This is especially important for children.
- In the days or weeks after this exercise, hold surprise drills.
- Be prepared to deal with what you may experience after an earthquake — both physically and emotionally.
For more information about earthquake emergency procedures at NOVA, please visit www.nvcc.edu/emergency. For additional earthquake preparedness tips, visit www.vaemergency.gov/readyvirginia/stayinformed/earthquakes or www.ready.gov/earthquakes.
Why should I spend money for something that may not happen? This is a common question people ask because being prepared does require spending money. When you consider the cost of not being prepared, you can find the small investment to purchase basic emergency supplies may save you in the long run.
Virginia’s Chesterfield County compiled a great infographic (below) that compares some of the costs of being prepared – and not.
With September being National Preparedness Month, use this time to consider items you and your family may need to remain safe—whether it be severe weather or a prolonged emergency event that may require you to shelter in place.
If you need assistance stocking your own emergency supply kit, here are two resources that will help you get started:
Emergencies and disasters can strike anyone, anytime and anywhere—even on NOVA campuses. They can happen quickly and without warning, and they can force you to evacuate your classroom, office, neighborhood, or require you to stay in your home.
It is vital that you understand what a disaster could mean for you and your family. Each person’s needs and abilities are different, but every individual can take important steps to prepare for all kinds of emergencies and to put plans in place. Get ready now by visiting the Virginia Department of Emergency Management’s (VDEM) Make a Plan page or visit the following VDEM links for specific individual planning considerations.
Family Emergency Plan
For Older Virginians
For People with Disabilities
Sample Emergency Plan Components:
Everyone has 10 free minutes, right? Take 10 encourages the NOVA Community to take 10 minutes at least every semester to review College emergency procedures and ensure their contact information is up-to-date in NOVA Alert.
There are 165,600 minutes in the academic semester and many of them are spent on academics. However, it will only take 10 minutes to better prepare yourself for an emergency.
September is National Preparedness Month and this year’s theme is “Don’t Wait. Communicate. Make Your Emergency Plan Today.” We are encouraging everyone to take part, make a plan and know what to do during an emergency. This means having an up-to-date contact list for those you may need to reach during a disaster and establishing alternate methods of communication in case traditional means are not available.