Earthquakes are a real concern depending on your location. Millions of people have survived these natural disasters however. A little forethought and earthquake preparedness will make a big difference not only in your chances of survival, but also in preventing panic in the minutes, hours and days following a quake.
Look for potential problems in and around your home prior to an earthquake. Secure items that have the potential of becoming falling objects during an earthquake. This may include bookshelves, items within kitchen cabinets, wall decorations, etc.
Check the structure of your home for potential issues. Foundation cracks and poor construction can allow even a small earthquake to become a big problem. If your home has a chimney, have its durability checked regularly.
Investigate the location and history of your home for things that may pose a threat or cause additional damage during an earthquake. Things to research include:
- Utility lines
- Nearby tall structures and trees
- Nearby hills (landslides)
- Fault lines
- Nearby dams, bodies of water and low-lying areas (flooding)
Locate the shut-off valves for gas and water lines coming into your home. Also make note of the location of your electrical control box. In the event of a natural disaster, these utilities will likely need to be shut off until they can be cleared by emergency personnel.
Family Disaster Plan
Plan ahead for how your family will react in the event of a natural disaster. Make sure all adults know CPR and First Aid.
In most families, members disperse during the day. An earthquake may strike when you are all in different locations. Designate primary (home) and secondary meeting places. Find out where public earthquake shelters in your community are usually set up. If you have children that attend daycare or school, inquire about their disaster plans.
Decide how you will communicate. If phone lines are not down completely, they may be jammed. Pay phones may be more reliable than your cell phone or landline. It may also be easier to make an out-of-state call than a local one. Designate a third party for family members to check in with. Write this information down and make sure every family member has a copy.
Family Disaster Plan Checklist
Earthquake Survival Gear
After a natural disaster, such as an earthquake, you will need to become self-dependent. Emergency responders will likely be overwhelmed and unable to respond to everyone. Prepare ahead. Have enough earthquake survival gear on hand to last your family for at least a few days, but preferably two weeks.
Earthquake survival kits should contain, as suggested by the U.S. Geological Survey:
- Fire Extinguishers
(Powder-type ABC extinguishers are good for most household fires.)
- Adequate supplies of prescriptions and medications
- Crescent and pipe wrenches to turn off gas and water supplies
- First-aid kit and manual
- Flashlights with extra bulbs and batteries
- Portable AM-FM radio with extra batteries
- Water for each family member for at least two weeks (allow at least 1 gallon per person per day) and water treatment tablets
or chlorine bleach to purify drinking water from other sources. If storing tap water, change your water every three months to ensure freshness.
- Enough canned and packaged foods to last several days and MECHANICAL can opener. Extra food for pets if necessary
- Camp stove or barbecue to cook on outdoors (don’t forget fuel, if necessary)
- Waterproof, heavy-duty plastic bags for waste disposal
- These are just the basics. You may consider adding additional items from the DIY Survival Gear Checklist.
A little earthquake preparedness can go along way. Plan ahead with your family, and make sure everyone is on the same page.
Have you experienced an earthquake? Was your family prepared?