When Los Angeles was hit with a 5.4 magnitude earthquake Tuesday, Navy Dr. Andy Baldwin was on the sixth floor of an office building.
He says, "It was scary. ... All of a sudden, the floor began to shake, and there was this big wave motion that never seemed to end. People were screaming. They were running outside. It was really interesting, because some people knew what to do, and some people didn't."
On The Early Show Wednesday, Baldwin, who starred in the ABC show, "The Bachelor: Officer and a Gentleman," advised that the first thing to remember if the ground starts to shake is to try to be calm.
He told Early Show co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez you should then, "Look for a sturdy piece of furniture, like a table or a desk and remember to duck, cover and hold. That's what I did. I saw a desk in front of me. I got under it and just rode out the earthquake. Don't run outside. Get away from the windows. And if you're in bed, just stay there and put a pillow over your head!"
Baldwin agreed with Rodriguez's assessment that, "You don't know when it starts how big it's going to be."
"Most definitely!" Baldwin said. "I didn't know if it was 'the big one.' I had been part of a few smaller ones before, when I was in medical school in San Francisco. But yesterday was definitely the strongest I'd felt. ... It felt like just this wave, and the building was swaying, and you don't know how long it's gonna last. And you don't know if ... it's just a foreshock or if there's gonna be stronger aftershocks."
After a quake, expect aftershocks, experts advise. And check yourself and others for injuries, then check the gas for any leaks.
But, Baldwin added, don't "tamper with (the main gas valve), because you can actually cause further damage or explosion. Unless you smell a gas leak, check the gas line, but do not turn off the main valve."
And, he pointed out, it's always good to have certain items at the ready: "You never know when the big one's gonna hit. That's why you need to have a disaster preparedness kit on hand. And just to go through some of the things -- a first aid kit; any necessary medications that you may need; and, you know, things that, when the power goes off, you'll need, like the flashlight, a battery-powered radio to listen to updates, things like blankets when it gets cold. And don't forget to have the rations. Your food, a (non-electric) can opener to open it up, and plenty of water in case you need it. And don't forget also to have some cash on hand, because ATMS aren't gonna be working." Also, extra batteries.
To see detailed advice on earthquake preparedness from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, click here.