Haven’t wrote an article for the Earthquake Myths series in awhile so I thought I’d add another one. This earthquake myth is that you can’t plan for an earthquake. The thinking is that because you never know when an earthquake will hit, you can’t do anything about it. That is totally WRONG! You can definitely prepare yourself and take measures to prevent injury.
Prepare BEFORE an Earthquake
If you read my main Preparedness Guide, there are tons of things you can do before an earthquake like purchasing an earthquake kit, doing practice drills, making evacuation plans, securing heavy objects, or writing down important information.
Purchase an Earthquake Kit
Earthquake kits are essential for preparedness because it contains vital supplies like a first aid kit, food, water, blankets, and other necessities to help keep you alive. It’s recommended that you have enough supplies to support you for 72 hours because emergency crews may not always be able to reach you immediately.
Doing Practice Drills
Do you know “DROP! COVER! HOLD ON!“? If you don’t, you should! Those are the basic things you should do if you are ever in an earthquake.
- The first thing is DROP!. Drop to your hands and knees. The reason for this is that while the ground is violently shaking, if you try to run or move you’re most likely going to be knocked down and injure yourself. If you’re already on the ground on all fours, you’re much more stable so can move around quickly.
- The second thing is COVER! This means to take cover under a sturdy desk or table. Things will be shaking and items may either fall down or fly through the air. The actual shaking doesn’t cause the most injuries. The most injuries are caused by things falling on you or at you. If you take cover you will be better protected from these objects.
- The third thing is HOLD ON! This means that you should hold on to whatever you are under. Because there will be shaking, the vibrations may cause the table or desk to shake away from you which would leave you exposed and vulnerable. To prevent this from happening make sure you hold on to the legs of the table or desk to ensure it’ll always be protecting you.
Doing practice drills will help you get more familiar with what you should do during an earthquake. Remember, an earthquake can strike at anytime so most likely you’ll be in a shocked and panicked state. Having practicing the maneuvers regularly will enable you to react without having to think much.
Make Evacuation Plans
Making a plan and knowing where your nearest exists are can help you react while in a confused state. Make sure you identify safe spots in each of your rooms so you’ll know exactly where to go during an earthquake. Make sure you know where your earthquake and fire extinguishers are located and that everyone knows utility shutoffs (gas, water, electricity) are to prevent fire, flooding, or electrical shock. Finally you should establish an outdoor meeting place so you can make sure all your family members got out safely.
Secure Heavy Objects
Like I mentioned before, most injuries are caused by object either falling on them or hitting them from the side. Imagine if you were in your living room and your heavy bookcase filled with books fell on you. That wouldn’t feel good. Or what if you had a heavy object stored on the top shelf and that fell on you. That’s definitely dangerous and even has the potential to hit your head and kill you. That’s why it’s important to make sure you have things secure. There are lots of things you can do right now to eliminate these hazards. You can check my 10 Easy Ways to Earthquake Proof Your Home post for more tips.
Write Down Important Information
When you’re in a panic and distressed you won’t be thinking properly. Most likely the first thing you are thinking of is getting out of there safely. Now that things are over, what next? Probably call your loved ones to see if they are OK. Make sure you have their phone numbers. You’ll probably want to call your insurance agent if there is any property damage. Make sure you have their contacts as well. When you were running out, did you remember to grab your ID? Insurance policies? Legal documents? If you keep photocopies of these important documents in your earthquake kit you’ll have everything you need in one place so all you have to do is grab and go.
As you can see, even though we can’t do anything about the earthquakes actually occurring (because we can’t stop mother nature), there are a lot of ways we can plan and for it. The worst thing you can do is NOT be prepared for it. What would happen if an earthquake struck and you are injured but don’t have a first aid kit? Or what would happen if you got trapped in your home but you have no food and water? No blanket to keep you warm. No flashlight to see in the dark. No radio to listen to vital information provided by government and other emergency agencies. You can imagine these are all horrific situations if you didn’t have any supplies at all. That’s why it’s VERY important to have an earthquake kit ready. You can even prepare you own. Click here to see a list of what you’ll need.
In addition to an earthquake kit you’ll need to plan ahead. Do practice drills so everyone knows what to do. Make an evacuation plan. Know where the safe spots are in every room of your home. Secure heavy objects to minimize hazards and write important information because you won’t have time to be scrambling through your house grabbing documents when there is an earthquake.
In addition to knowing what to do before an earthquake. We can plan and prepare by learning what we should do during and after an earthquake. Read more below.