Are you prepared for when nature strikes? Indiana faces many weather threats, but we’re here to say you might need to prepare for more than just tornadoes.

Earthquake photo

There's also an underground threat we Hoosiers need to be prepared for: earthquakes.

The Indiana Department of Homeland Security’s most recent attempt to spread the word was by enlisting K-12 students in their education campaign. Orleans (Indiana) Elementary School won the Get ShakIN’ video contest focused on earthquake preparedness and safety for the North American Great ShakeOut Day on Oct. 21. First prize was a seismograph for science-based learning activities.  

“I was so excited to see the wide range of video entries,” said Mary Moran, IDHS director of emergency management, in a press release. “All of them captured critical earthquake safety information.”

Here’s what the kids learned, in case you also need to know: Indiana sits on two major seismic zones, the Wabash Valley Seismic Zone, which runs through southeastern Illinois and southwestern Indiana, and the New Madrid Seismic Zone, which runs from the Mississippi River all the way up to southern Indiana. The last activity felt from these zones was recorded on June 17, a 3.8 magnitude quake with an epicenter in Montezuma, Indiana. 

“It might feel like a strong jolt and things might shake a little,” John Bellini of the National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colorado, told TheIndianapolis Star afterward. “But we don’t expect damage until we’re near the mid-4 level.” 

That kind of earthquake, according to IDHS, could be in Indiana’s near future—so best to figure out what to do now.

“Hoosiers can be better prepared for earthquakes by taking some simple precautions to protect themselves and their property,” Anna Shei, IDHS communications manager, said in an email to TheStatehouseFile.com, “including creating disaster kits and a list of emergency phone numbers; designating a meeting place away from home and collapsible structures; practicing Drop, Cover and Hold On drills; and making sure heavy furniture is secured in a home. 

“Every member of the household should understand what to do during and after an earthquake event, even young children.”

Here are other ways to stay safe:

  • Finding yourself inside during an earthquake, hide under strong furniture and grab hold; this will help protect you from falling objects. Cover your head and neck with your arms. Do not go outside, to avoid being hit by falling objects. 

  • If you are outside, stay away from power lines, tall buildings and anything else that is in danger of falling. 

  • If you are driving or in a moving vehicle, drive slowly and get away from objects that are above your car. 

  • If you are in bed, stay and cover your head with a pillow, and move away from objects that are above you.

  • Do not get into an elevator as they might shut down during the earthquake.

  • Stay calm and do not become overly anxious as this could make it harder to concentrate on finding a safe space.

If you would like to learn more about disaster kits and what else you should know to better prepare yourself for an earthquake click here

Claire Castillo is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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