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If a quake hits, be prepared to assess and react

Due to the ongoing education given to the public regarding disaster preparation in the event of an earthquake, there is one more question — after gathering all necessary items and important papers — what should we do next?

— Kathy, Ashland

Experts said you will have about a minute to assess your situation before the real force of the earthquake hits, Kathy. And that one minute is crucial for your safety.

Duck and cover immediately when you know an earthquake is occurring, especially if you're inside, said Southern Oregon University emeritus professor Eric Dittmer.

In your case, Kathy, if you decide to evacuate from your location — after gathering your necessities, important papers — and don't forget some cash — find an open area to avoid hazards, and prepare for aftershocks. Dittmer also recommended to stay away from buildings that show damage from the quake and avoid entering a building until given permission by a qualified expert.

Driving around will be tricky with possible road damage, landslides and collapsed bridges. In fact, bikes may become one of the best temporary ways to get around. 

Experts recommend stocking up on at least two weeks worth of food and water, anticipating Medford's only link to the outside world might be the airport.

Some of the major efforts to help mitigate the damages of the quake are already in play at the state level, such as upgrading lifeline transportation routes and funding Oregon’s Seismic Rehabilitation Grants Program for K-12 schools. But Dittmer said it's also important for each individual to prepare for the earthquake and follow the evacuation plan.

For more information, visit the Ashland Community Emergency Response Team disaster preparedness website at www.ashlandcert.org.

— Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.