Las Vegas, NV felt 3.6 magnitude earthquake tremors on Friday May 22, 2015 at 11:47 a.m. The original 4.8 magnitude earthquake hit 100 miles north of Las Vegas near the town of Caliente, NV. Several aftershocks ranging from 1.0 to 3.8 magnitude shortly followed. The ramp from southbound U.S. 95 to I-15 was shut down. Part of the bridge separated from the quake making this one bridge fragile. Several other bridges were shut down as a precaution. People took to social media commenting about what happened. This was considered to be a shallow quake which means a higher magnitude compared to a deep quake which may not be felt. There has been a lot of seismic activity in the last week across the American West. There are many fault lines across the Las Vegas Valley including a resent fault line found near Sloan, NV. Nevada ranks third highest in the nation for greatest number of large earthquakes.
There are some simple techniques offered by the Nevada Seismological Laboratory to help people live with earthquakes. Keeping some stored water on hand and practicing family safety plans are good precautions. Keep dishes or heavy things such as a computer away from ledges. Insure nothing heavy is located above one’s bed because a seismic event can happen at any time. Where most people think of damages occurring from falling buildings as seen in movies like “San Andreas,” the realistic damage occurs from nonstructural items like furniture, appliances, and water heaters. If these items are securely in place (bolted in), then less damage expenses may arise from a future “Big One.”
Use of common sense is great in surviving an earthquake. Look, duck, cover, and hold on. If outside stay away from buildings, trees, and electric wires. Stay in the open. If in a tall building, do not evacuate and stay away from elevators. Seek safety in the immediate are of the building. Some people say to stand at a door wedge with hands secured to door trim. This is a myth, as doors slam shut and sometimes building structures break at this point. A person should drop the floor and stay where one is. If at a very sturdy desk, crawling under the desk and holding tight to the top of the desk may be useful. Steer clear from high voltage areas or water heaters. If in an automobile, do not drive under a bridge, overpass, under buildings, or near utility lines. Gradually come to a stop and remain in vehicle until all tremors have stopped. If in a crowded facility such as a theater, urge others to remain calm. Rushing to exits causes a stampede and people die from this. Crouch to the floor between chairs and cover one’s head. If in a steep canyon or near a slope, watch out for falling rocks or landslides.
After the earthquake tremors have stopped, people need to remain careful. If there is no power, do not light a match or use candles. Provide first aid to those in need. A CPR class or refresher course may be useful. It is now 30 chest compressions to each two breaths if someone has lost consciousness and no sign of breathing or heartbeat. Check for fires and put those out with an available ABC fire extinguisher. Turn on a radio for emergency instructions. Do not use a telephone unless an emergency to life is immediate. Wear sturdy shoes to protect against debris and glass shards. Do not flush a toilet. Open closets and cupboards cautiously. Stay out of an already damaged building. Aftershocks do happen. Do not spread rumors and be of help to people suffering trauma. If stuck in a building identify emergency water supplies such as a water heater. If driving, look for obstacles on the road created by earthquake such as broken bridge, downed power lines, and blocked roadways. Expect aftershocks.
For earthquakes, some people have what is known as survival in a can. One can also make his own make shift survival necessities: flashlight, CPR instructions, tools such as shovel, screwdriver, wrench, hatchet, potable water, canned food, blanket, work gloves, fire extinguisher, and weather radio with emergency 2-way communication. If one is a camper, keep all these items with camping supplies and keep in a safe easily accessible place. Emergency kits are only as useful as those familiar with them. If one does not know how to find channel 16 for an emergency, then a 2 way communication radio will not be very useful. Be accustomed with the user manual to such a radio and practice safely. When practicing listen in on channel 16 but do not call unless in immediate danger. Be accustomed with radio protocols. Use common sense and come out of it alive.