One of the most frightening and destructive natural disaster is a severe earthquake. An earthquake is the sudden, rapid shaking of the earth, caused by the breaking and shifting of subterranean rock as it releases strain that has accumulated over a long time.

While earthquakes are sometimes believed to be a West Coast occurrence, Nebraska has seen numerous earthquakes, including North Platte (1877), Columbus (1910), Dawes County (1934), Tecumseh (1935), and Bassett (1972).

While earthquakes are rare in Nebraska, they are not unheard of and strike without notice.  Preparing for earthquakes includes ideas similar to other, more common Nebraska hazards like tornaodes and floods.

  • Teach your entire family what to do in an earthquake.
    • Establish a meeting place outside the home.
    • Learn about plans at your kids' school or daycare.
    • Keep a prepared 72 hour kit.
  • Know where the gas, electric, and water shut offs are located for your home.
  • Talk with neighbors and friends about how to help each other following a disaster.
  • During and earthquake, you should
    • If already indoors, stay there. Get under a desk or other heavy furniture, stand in a doorway or hallway.
    • If you are outside, get to an open area away from powerlines, trees, chimneys and other items that can fall on you.
    • If driving, stop carefully and move out of traffic as soon as possible. Don't hide under bridges or overpasses, trees, power lines or light posts. Stay in your vehicle until the shaking stops.

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