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August 2011
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No You’re not crazy… Yes that was an earthquake!

In recent days our little block of Miller Avenue has been through a lot. Last week it was flooding rains and exploding manhole covers, today it was an earthquake. And just when you thought it was safe to get back in the pool… there’s a hurricane on the way!

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WASHINGTON — Thousands of people evacuated buildings across Washington, D.C., and New York City on Tuesday after a moderate earthquake in Virginia that was also felt as far south as Chapel Hill, N.C.  Parts of the Pentagon, White House and Capitol were among the areas evacuated. Centered some 90 miles from the nation’s capital, the quake was a magnitude 5.9, the U.S. Geological Survey said. At the U.S. Capitol, light fixtures swung and the building shook for about 15 seconds while the tremor hit, NBC News reported. In New York City, NBC reported debris fell from the attorney general’s office, causing a brief panic as people ran from the area. Airport towers and government buildings in New York, including City Hall, were evacuated. The 26-story federal courthouse in lower Manhattan began swaying and hundreds of people were seen leaving the building.



Although earthquakes are uncommon in New York City, tremors occasionally occur and residents should be prepared. Identify safe places in each room of your home. A safe place can be under a solid piece of furniture and away from windows, hanging objects or tall furniture that could fall on you. Prepare your home by securing bookcases and other top-heavy objects to the wall, and store large and heavy items on lower shelves. Do not hang large pictures or mirrors above sofas or other places where people may sit or sleep.

Note that after an earthquake your utilities may be disrupted. Learn how to shut off the source of natural gas to your home if you smell a leak.

In the event of an earthquake:

  • Drop, Cover and Hold On:
  • Drop to the floor.
  • Take cover under a solid piece of furniture or next to an interior wall. Cover your head and neck with your arms.
  • Hold on to a sturdy piece of furniture and be prepared to move with it. Stay where you are until the shaking stops.
  • Move carefully after the quake, watching for items that may have fallen or broken. Put on sturdy shoes before investigating further to prevent potential injuries from broken glass.
  • If power is out, use a flashlight and turn on a battery-operated radio for more information. Do not use candles or open flame as a source of light.
  • If you smell gas, leave immediately and call 911. If gas is leaking and you know how, turn off the source of gas at the outside main, and call the gas company from outside your home.
  • Open closet and cabinet doors carefully, as items may have shifted inside.
  • Clean up spills of hazardous or flammable liquids immediately.
  • Be prepared for aftershocks, which often follow an earthquake.

To download a brochure on general preparedness, go to:


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