Message from our safety officer:
Good Afternoon Everyone,
While we focus a great deal on Hurricane Preparedness here at Borinquen, last night’s earthquake is a timely reminder that other natural hazards may pose a significant threat to ourselves and our neighbors. As a historical reminder, the 1918 Tsunami that hit North West Puerto Rico was caused by a 7.1 magnitude quake very near where last night’s 6.1 struck. That tsunami and earthquake together killed around 100 people, and it took less than ten minutes for the wave to strike after the earthquake was felt. It seems timely then for a review of how to stay safe in an earthquake and tsunami.
Earthquakes are quite common in Puerto Rico, the Mona Pass, and along the Puerto Rico Trench (where last night’s earthquake occurred). They are usually so small we don’t feel them. They are also notoriously difficult to predict when they will occur. Unfortunately, this means we cannot preemptively avoid the hazard, and must instead be prepared to take appropriate actions once the ground starts shaking.
If an earthquake happens, protect yourself right away. Drop, Cover and Hold On!
If you are in a vehicle, pull over and stop. Set your parking brake.
If you are in bed, turn face down and cover your head and neck with a pillow.
If you are outdoors, stay outdoors away from buildings.
Do not get in a doorway.
Do not run outside.
Please reference https://www.ready.gov/earthquakes for more detailed preparation instructions. But commit those steps to memory so you don’t do like I did and stand in a doorway:
Tsunamis are often caused by earthquakes. Fortunately, the US Tsunami Warning System will give prompt warning of an incoming tsunami.
Unfortunately, that may not be very long- and you may not be on a beach where you can receive those reports. I’ve known a family that survived the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami- they will carry the scars of that experience the rest of their lives. Thankfully, these are exceedingly rare events, but anytime you’re near the beach, you should be prepared to leave in a rush when a tsunami warning comes.
After last night’s earthquake, the first thing I checked was weather it had generated a tsunami:
Thankfully, it didn’t, but it did illustrate how important it is to be prepared since we may not have very much warning should one come.
IF YOU ARE UNDER A TSUNAMI WARNING:
First, protect yourself from an Earthquake. Drop, Cover, then Hold On. Get to high ground as far inland as possible. Be alert to signs of a tsunami, such as a sudden rise or draining of ocean
waters. Listen to emergency information and alerts.
Evacuate: DO NOT wait! Leave as soon as you see any natural signs of a tsunami or receive an official tsunami warning. If you are in a boat, go out to sea.
I want to emphasize these two points more:
Be alert to signs of a tsunami, such as a sudden rise or draining of ocean waters. Get to high ground as far inland as possible.
In 1946, 24 students and teachers died when a tsunami destroyed their school in Hawaii. Some of the kids ran towards the beach as the water receded instead of racing for high ground. It’s a story told and retold to kids growing up in Hawaii so they don’t make the same mistake if they ever see
the ocean waters recede.
Please never hesitate to contact the safety department at any time if you have any questions, comments, or concerns.