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An earthquake shook a small NC town. Here’s how to prepare before the next tremor strikes

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A 2.2 earthquake struck southeast of Catawba, a community about 50 miles northwest of uptown Charlotte with a population of about 600 people on Wednesday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

This earthquake was reported nearly two years after Sparta, N.C., experienced a 5.1 magnitude earthquake that researchers recently discovered left a “rupture” in the ground more than 1.5 miles long, The Charlotte Observer reported in April.

Though major earthquakes are rare in North Carolina, seismic events can happen at any time of the year, according to the N.C. Division of Environmental Quality.

Here’s how to prepare for an earthquake and ways to protect yourself during a tremor.

How to prepare for an earthquake

Most injuries during an earthquake are caused by falling objects and trash, according to ReadyNC.gov. You can follow these steps from the agency to keep your family and property safe in the event of an earthquake:

• Fasten shelves and heavy pictures to walls.

• Put large, heavy objects on lower shelves.

• Store breakable items and flammable products in closed cabinets.

• Repair electrical wiring, leaky gas connections, and deep cracks in ceilings and foundations.

• Find safe spots in each room of your house under a sturdy table or against an inside wall.

• Hold earthquake drills with your family.

Actions to take during a tremor

During an earthquake, it is advised to take cover underneath a sturdy desk or table and hold on to that piece of furniture until the shaking stops, according to N.C. Emergency Management.

Here are some other tips to follow from ReadyNC.gov when an earthquake happens:

• Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors, walls and anything that could fall on you.

• Avoid taking cover near your refrigerator, stove and overhead cupboards.

• If you live in a high-rise building, stay near an inside wall and do not use elevators.

• Inside a stadium or theater, protect your head with your arms and do not try to leave before the shaking stops.

• If outdoors, move to an area away from trees, signs and buildings.

• If driving, pull over to the side of the road, stay away from power lines and overpasses and stay inside your vehicle until the shaking stops.

• In a store, move away from anything that might fall and do not try and run for the exits.

• If you are in the mountains, watch for falling rock, landslides, trees and other materials that could be loosened by earthquakes.

What to do after an earthquake

Earthquakes may only last for a few seconds, but aftershocks can be as strong and can occur days or weeks after the initial tremor, according to ReadyNC.gov.

Here are some tips for the agency on what to do after a seismic event:

• Help hurt or trapped people and administer first aid when needed.

• Look out for and put out small fires. Fires are the most common danger after an earthquake.

• Listen to a radio or TV for emergency alerts.

• Do not go into buildings that were damaged during the earthquake.

• Stay away from electrical wiring.

• Be careful when driving, since traffic lights may be out.

• Check your home for signs of structural damage.

• Check your home for gas leaks, or damage to electrical systems, or sewage and water lines.

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