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Another View: Are you ready to shake, rattle and, maybe, roll?

Where were you 10:23 a.m. April 5?

As I have since said to those who kindly asked, I was at a local laundromat where washing machines seemingly the size of small cars and dryers large enough to comfortably handle several king-size bedspreads along with the accompanying bed skirts and duvet covers all at once, shake and shimmy at various intervals in their wash and dry cycles.

Imagine my surprise when a text from a relative announced, “We just had an EARTHQUAKE!!!”

We did indeed.

At 10:23 a.m. April 5, as you are no doubt aware, an earthquake rattled more than just nerves along the northeastern United States in what CNN headlined as “a rare 4.8 magnitude earthquake.”

Fortunately, for us in the Lehigh Valley and most of the region, there was little to any damage and, at the time of this writing, no casualties known resulting from the earthquake.

The quake was felt from the Washington, D.C., area to Maine with the strongest shakes in Hunterdon County, N.J., which now holds the distinction of hosting the earthquake as the epicenter.

Officials described the quake as shallow.

In a news conference now available online on the website for the United States Geological Survey, Jessica Thompson Jobe, a research geologist in the USGS Earthquake Hazards Program, said, “Earthquakes in this region are infrequent, but not unexpected. This earthquake occurred in a region of recognized seismic hazard.

“This is an area of older, generally inactive faults, but they can become reactivated at any time,” Jobe continued.

Good grief!

Here are a few ways to be prepared for the next time a fault reactivates from folks who know more than a bit about earthquakes and, really, most disasters - the American Red Cross.

• Gather emergency supplies, including water, nonperishable foods and first-aid items, and create kits. The ARC suggests organizing “stay-at-home,” “to-go” and “bed” kits to be well prepared and to use depending on the situation. Also include medical information and needed medicines and personal information in your kits.

• Learn emergency skills such as basic first aid and CPR, how to turn off utilities in your home and how to operate and maintain a fire extinguisher.

• Phone chargers, batteries and a battery-operated radio are important to have on hand.

The website ready.gov also has a list of items to include in your emergency kits.

Anyone who is or has been a student in area schools may incorporate Fire Prevention Week lessons such as having and practicing a home emergency plan and designating a meeting spot if family members get separated in an emergency situation.

The Occupational Safety and Health Information website offers employers and employees advice on preparing businesses and workplaces for earthquakes.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also have information on how to be ready.

California offers online resources as well.

Japan, where earthquakes are far from rare, will offer the closing example in this piece. According to the Japan Times, many smartphones in Japan have earthquake apps with alarm capabilities, possibly giving users a few seconds of advance notice of a quake.

Many sources consulted agree on the following when experiencing an earthquake.

• Drop: Lower your center of gravity to stay more steady during the shaking.

• Cover: Protect your head and neck with your arms, backpack or purse to keep objects from striking these vital areas.

• Hold: Hold on to something to stay in place in case tremors are especially violent.

Be as safe as you can.

April Peterson

editorial assistant

East Penn Press

Salisbury Press