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VIRGINIA / NORTH CAROLINA -- Officials with the North Carolina Division of Emergency Management are passing along tips on how to stay safe during an earthquake, should an aftershock occur.

The U.S. Geological Service has reported that an earthquake measuring 5.9 on the Richter scale occurred at 1:51 this afternoon near Mineral and Louisa, Virginia. Later estimates show it was actually a 5.8 earthquake. Citizens as far away as the Triangle region have reported feeling tremors. Aftershocks are a possibility, but will diminish in intensity and frequency.

If you feel the ground shake, take the following precautions immediately!

1. DUCK - When the shaking first starts: DUCK or drop to the floor.
2. COVER - Take COVER under a sturdy desk, table or other furniture. If there is nothing available to take cover under, crouch against an interior wall and protect your head and neck with your arms. Stay away from windows, hanging objects, mirrors or anything that might fall over.
3. HOLD - If seeking cover under a piece of furniture, HOLD on to it and be prepared to move with it during the quake.

Use these tips if you find yourself in any of the following places when an earthquake strikes:
- High-rise building Stay near an interior wall. Do not use the elevators.
- Outdoors Move to a clear area, away from trees, signs, buildings, or downed electrical wires and poles.
- Walking along the street Duck into a doorway to protect yourself from falling bricks, glass, plaster and other debris.
- In your car Pull over to the side of the road and stop. Avoid overpasses, power lines, and other hazards. STAY INSIDE THE VEHICLE UNTIL THE SHAKING IS OVER.
- In a mall or other public place Do not rush for the exits. DO NOT PANIC. Move away from anything that might fall.
- In the kitchen Move away from the refrigerator, stove, and overhead cupboards.
- In a stadium or theater Stay in your seat and protect your head with your arms. DO NOT try and leave until the shaking is over.
- In the mountains Watch out for falling rock, landslides, trees, and other debris that could be loosened by quakes.

For more information on making a family plan and an emergency kit, click here.

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