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March 3, 2010

North Carolina Earthquakes - Should We Prepare?

Earthquake Haiti.jpgWith the recent catastrophic earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, there is much talk about being prepared for an earthquake, particularly on the west coast in places like southern California. But what about the east coast? Are we at risk for a big quake in western North Carolina?

Reviewing the history of earthquakes in North Carolina would suggest that we do have some degree of risk, though it appears to be quite low. There have been a number of earthquakes in North Carolina over the last couple of hundred years, but none of them have caused severe damage. Most of the damage from these quakes involved cracked chimneys, broken dishes and windows, and other minor property damage. That said, we do live near the Eastern Tennessee Seismic Zone, and a large quake in that zone would adversely affect western North Carolina.

Having reviewed most of the articles about earthquake preparedness, it appears that the most important steps we should take include making sure your home is bolted to its foundation, securing water heaters to a wall, knowing where to turn off gas and electricity, securing cabinet doors, bolting tall, heavy furniture to the wall, and have a disaster kit that contains water, food and other necessities in the event that you are own your own for an extended period.