How to stay safe during an earthquake, tsunami

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Anchorage residents felt the shaking Tuesday morning, as a 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck about 175 miles off of the southeast coast of Kodiak.

"Alerts were going out from our office, to make sure people knew that there were likely tsunami events for some of the coast of Alaska," said Andrew Preis, emergency programs manager for the Municipality of Anchorage. And while "the Anchorage Bowl – specifically – was safe from tsunami-like events," Preis said he wants to make sure everyone is ready for the next emergency.

Preis recommends that locals practice the three pillars of emergency preparedness:

Build a disaster kit and shelter: If a large earthquake did occur in the Anchorage area, residents may be advised that it's safer to have a makeshift shelter in place, until public shelters are stood up and evacuation routes are cleared. During this time, you will want to have extra water, food and any other essentials, like important documents, readily on hand.

Make an emergency plan: Developing an emergency plan as a household, in order to know how to communicate during and after a disaster, is key. In addition to communicative plans, having a strong understanding of the evacuation routes to leave your home quickly is crucial.

Know how to stay informed: It is recommended that Anchorage residents sign up for local Nixle alerts. "It is a six digit text code," explains Preis. "It's a matter of just typing in your municipality zip code to that number – to that six digit code – and you're signed up to receive Nixle alerts."

You can sign up for Nixle alerts online, using this LINK.

While Anchorage was a distance away from the epicenter, the American Red Cross of Alaska recommends a few safety tips, in case a natural disaster hits closer to home.

What to do during an earthquake: If you are inside when the shaking begins, it is recommended that you drop, cover and hold onto something sturdy. The organization also recommends that you stay indoors, until the shaking stops. Only exit when you are sure it is safe.
[Red Cross: Earthquake Safety Checklist]

What to do during a tsunami: If you live in a tsunami hazard area and feel an earthquake that lasts 20 seconds or longer, it is recommended that you first protect yourself from the earthquake; so drop, cover and hold onto something sturdy. Once the shaking stops, you are advised to move quickly to higher ground away from the coast, as a tsunami could come within minutes. After reaching high ground, the organization recommends tuning-in to a local television, radio or government entity for the latest updates.
[Red Cross: Tsunami Safety Checklist]

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