When I decided to put my career on hiatus and spend a summer seeking adventure in Montana, an earthquake was not on my to-do list.
Last night, I was jolted from a deep sleep to the largest earthquake in western Montana in nearly 60 years, according to the USGS. The epicenter of the 5.8 magnitude quake was 90 miles away in Lincoln, Montana.
My biggest surprise was the sound. I never knew that earthquakes were so loud.
The quake occurred just after midnight leaving many slumbering Montanans bewildered. This morning, people in Great Falls reported they thought their house had been hit by a car, a plane had crashed, or a speeding train was outside their bedroom window.
After the first quake, #MontanaEarthquake began to trend on Twitter. While Montanans laid awake waiting on the next aftershock, many tweeted gallows humor about the Yellowstone supervolcano erupting.
Most Montanans, nor this Ohioan, have been trained in what to do in an earthquake. I could teach a class on tornado safety, but at 12:33 a.m. it became painfully clear that I had no idea what to do during an earthquake.
So today, I asked my earthquake savvy California friends for earthquake #protips. They can recite them by heart.
If you are outside, stay there and move away from buildings and wires.
If you are driving, pull over and stop. Stay in your car with your seatbelt on.
If you are inside,
- Stay where you are. Do not run outside.
- Drop down onto your hands and knees.
- Cover your head and neck to protect yourself from falling debris.
- Hold onto something sturdy.
- If you are in bed, cover your head with your pillow and stay there.
Please note that these #protips will be irrelevant when the Yellowstone supervolcano does erupt.
P.S. That might be the next time that #Montana will be trending on Twitter.
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I was born in Great Falls and raised on Flathead until the base was closed and we had to move to Washington. 2 big tips I’d like to offer, get AWAY from glass windows. They can buckle and shatter. If you’re inside, get under a doorframe or really sturdy table or desk. Light fixtures (especially in high ceiling buildings) sway and fall.