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In August the East Coast experienced an earthquake and a hurricane—and more hurricanes are developing. While billions of dollars in damage has been done and lives have been lost, there are some things the average person can do to mitigate their own exposure in the event of a disaster.

Earthquakes: During an earthquake, the proper thing to do is to drop, cover and hold on. Experts now encourage people to get under a heavy item of furniture and hold on—do not stand in a doorway; do not go outside. This will protect you from falling objects. And while outside may seem to be a safer place to be, trees, power lines and building parts do fall. Before an earthquake ever occurs, do an assessment: How securely are items fastened to the walls? Is the bookcase a little top heavy? It’ll certainly fall once the ground starts shaking. And while it may not seem important now in areas not prone to earthquakes, a little bit of preventative action never hurts. After an earthquake, beware of any damaged interiors and be on the lookout for leaking gas lines. There are often fires after an earthquake because of such ruptured lines.

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