The following information will help you prepare NOW for an earthquake. Don’t hesitate and put things off for “later”. Scientists are working hard to predict when earthquakes occur. Unfortunately, they can’t yet so the best thing we can do is prepare ourselves before it even happens. Education and preparation will greatly increase your chance of survival after a devastating earthquake so read the following to know what to do before an earthquake.
Everyone should have an earthquake kit or disaster supplies. Having one or not may be a matter of life or death. Will you survive without food or water when the fridge is crushed and water pipes empty? Will you survive without a blanket when there’s no electricity or heating to keep you from freezing? Will you survive if you’ve been badly injured and have no first aid kit? Other than these life threatening questions, a good earthquake kit may have things like a shovel for digging yourself out, candles or flashlight to help you see in the dark, radio to keep tabs on what’s going in the outside world and other handy things to help you if you become trapped. An earthquake kit is not only for your home. There are earthquake kits specifically made for your car or office. Make sure everyone knows where it is located. Experts recommend getting supplies to help you survive without outside assistance for at least 3 days following the earthquake.
Want to build your own? Check out the link below.
Some of you might remember doing these back in grade school where the alarm rings and everyone is supposed to go under their desks while you hear the sound of shaking and rumbling on the PA system. Well, it’s not only for children. Most workplaces have annual practice drills to ensure that their employees know what to do during an earthquake and where to meet after the earthquake to make sure everyone is accounted for. You should also do practice drills with your family at home. Make sure everyone knows what to do. It’s very hard to stay calm and think clearly when an earthquake hits. Doing regular practice drills will help you react accordingly during a panicked state.
You might have heard the popular phrase “Stop, Drop, and Roll” which you are supposed to do in case you ever catch on fire to put the flames out. Well, earthquake safety has one too! It’s DROP, COVER, HOLD ON!
- DROP – drop down to your hands and knees to prevent injury from the earthquake knocking you down.
- COVER – take cover under a sturdy desk or table. If there isn’t one near you, cover your face and head with your arms. Falling or flying objects are the most common causes of injury.
- HOLD ON – hold on to whatever is protecting you. The ground can shake violently causing a desk to move away and make you unprotected.
Secure Heavy Objects
Most deaths and injuries are caused by parts of the building collapsing or heavy objects such as bookcases and cabinets. You should identify these dangerous objects and ensure they are secure or even move them away from beds or sofas now to help prevent any injury in advance.
After an earthquake you may have to evacuate if the building is severely damaged to prevent it from collapsing on you. Make a floor plan and identify safe spots in every room (under desks, tables, etc) so you can protect yourself no matter where you are. Mark where your earthquake kit, emergency supplies, fire extinguishers, etc are and ensure everyone knows where they are located as well as utility shutoffs (gas, water, electricity) to prevent fire, flooding, or electric shock. Establish an outdoor meeting place where everyone will meet after the earthquake to make sure everyone is accounted for. Most hotels, conference halls, and offices has an evacuation plan posted on the wall. Make sure you know where the closest exits are.
Write Down Important Information
Write down a list of important information like addresses, telephone numbers, and evacuation sites for all the places your family members go to often (home, work, school). This will help in contacting them if they are not with you during the earthquake. Also make copies of essential documents such as ID’s, social security cards, wills, and insurance policies which will be useful after the earthquake. A list and photos of your household inventory will help with insurance claims down the road.