Oklahomans Urged To Take Earthquake Precautions At Home

Friday, January 8th 2016, 10:50 pm
By: News 9

Oklahoma has now had more than 40 earthquakes over the last few days. Ten of them happened Friday. All of that shaking has left many residents wondering how we can brace for the next round.

"One of the bigger problems that can happen especially with the types of earthquakes that we have here in Oklahoma is your water heater can basically tip over,” Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management Spokesperson Keli Cain said.

To secure it, you can either rig something up yourself or buy a strapping kit for about 15 dollars at a hardware store. You can also tie back shelves and anything else that can fall or tip over if the ground starts rumbling including chimneys. And don't forget about your utilities.

"Know how to shut off your gas,” Cain said. “Know how to shut off your water."

The quakes may be new to Oklahoma over the past few years, but our state's no stranger to responding to them and is on standby to help those to our east along the new Madrid earthquake zone - an area that had four of the largest North American earthquakes in recorded history back in the early 1800's and has the potential to produce more in the future.

1/7/16 Related Story: Nearly 30 Earthquakes Rattle Northern Oklahoma In 24 Hours

"We've been preparing for many years in order to be a support state to Arkansas if there were to be a large earthquake that hits that area,” Cain said. “Of course it would also impact Oklahoma."

But it's not just in and around your home that's vulnerable, Oklahoma Department of Transportation has crews in each county that go out and inspect roads and bridges within a five mile radius anytime there is an earthquake that's larger than a 4.0. Major County got the all clear.

Inspectors haven't found damage since 2011, when asphalt was rattled loose from the road. The agency hired a consultant back in April to help plan for future quake inspections.

"They're also looking at three different kinds of bridges and giving us some assessments of what we can expect if a larger earthquake were to hit,” ODOT spokesperson Lisa Shearer-Salim said.