Earthquakes are a common occurrence in Southern California and other parts of the world. In fact, they are so common most folks ride them out with out any second thoughts of the potential dangers involved. It’s been a while since a devastating earthquake hit our region. In this article, I will be discussing 7 tips for earthquake preparedness as recommended by the Federal Emergency Management Association.
The latest earthquake storm in August 2012, 100 miles east of San Diego in the Imperial County, left most people on edge. There were over 300 quakes in a short amount of time. Most were small but two quakes were over 5.0 that broke windows and knocked homes off their foundations. Earthquakes are a serious threat and should not be taken lightly.
Seven Tips for Earthquake preparedness
- Hazardous checks: Your home may contain many hazards that may bring potential harm to you and your family. The key is to identify these hazards and secure them if you can; for instance, unsecured TV sets, unstrapped water heaters are very common in most households. For large heavy breakable objects, I highly recommend using a quake hold putty or gel to secure those items in place. Identify those hazards and take action to secure them. I have listed some emergency essentials to help you.
2. Home Integrity: How is the structural integrity of your home. Is the foundation solid and do you feel safe in your home if an earthquake happens? These are important questions to ask yourself. I highly recommend hiring a home inspector to help you find weaknesses in your home and/or contact your landlord if you are a renter.
Common things to check for:
- Unbraced Walls
- Two Story Buildings
3. Electric, Gas & Water Shutoff: Everyone in your family should learn how to shut off the electricity, Gas & Water. During emergencies it is important to shut these items off as quickly as possible. This will avoid the danger of fires and floods. Also, make certain you have easy access to any tools you will need to shut these valves. I highly recommend purchasing an emergency valve shut off wrench. I have listed some below for your convenience.
4. Assemble a 72 hour kit: Assemble a 72 Hour Kit to provide emergency essentials such as food, water, tools, first-aid kit, flashlights, portable radio, extra batteries, cash, extra medications, whistles, fire extinguisher and emergency blankets. Having an 72 hour kit will reduce the impact of an earthquake. Also, make sure you have a list of emergency contacts. Include numbers of doctors, relatives, schools etc… Another important element to have on hand is a generator with extra gas. I have listed some resources below.
5. Make an Emergency Plan: When disasters strike you should already have a plan in place. This includes safe hiding spaces in your house, how to evacuate and where to re-unite, location of emergency supplies and the locations of your disaster kits. Responsibilities of each family member should be included as part of your emergency preparedness plan. Great resources are listed below:
6. Rehearse your Disaster Plan: Your plan will be no good if it’s not rehearsed, so practice your entire plan. Knowing where to go and what to do is key to survival in any disaster situation. For earthquakes, it is important to know where safe areas are such as sturdy tables or desks, so you can go to them without thinking. Know your homes danger spots and inform your family to stay clear of those areas. I highly recommend you learn CPR and First Aid from your local Red Cross or other community organization. Drop Cover and Hold On…!
7. The Most Important Thing is to Help Others: In addition to preparing your family for emergencies, make a mental note of your neighbors who may require assistance, such as the elderly and/or those with special needs. When your family is safe, it is important to help those who can’t help themselves. This is the right thing to do and as a society we need to pull together. Additionally, if have PETS make sure they are included in your disaster preparedness plans.
Don’t delay, planning for emergencies will help your family survive when disaster strikes. The experts have yet to perfect the technology to predict earthquakes. When the ground starts rumbling you and your family will be ready if you follow these simple tips. I have compiled a list of resources below for your convenience.
By Rodney Butler