Earthquakes strike suddenly and little to no warning. If you live in an area prone to earthquakes, there are things you can do to prepare to help avoid the injury and property damage that can happen.
Prepare Your Home
If you own your home, find and correct any weaknesses either by hiring an inspector or assessing your property yourself.
If you rent, talk to the owner or management company to find out what steps have been taken to reinforce the property against earthquakes. Asking these questions when touring a place will be a good addition to any pros and cons lists you are creating when deciding where to rent.
Next, take a look at what you have in your home. Personal items and furniture can be just as hazardous during an earthquake as a bad foundation or structurally unsafe walls.
Objects that can move, fall and break, as your home shakes can cause injury, more damage to other items, and loss of value.
To avoid unnecessary injury and property loss, make a tour of each room and make notes on
what items may need to be secured, like heavy bookcases that should be fastened to the wall. Make it a habit to protect or put away more valuable items when not in use, like a home office computer.
Make sure that items hanging on the walls or ceilings are being held by quality hardware that won’t have them falling down at the slightest trimmer.
If you have gas appliances, make sure they’ve been installed with flexible connectors that can handle being shifted around. If they aren’t, have a plumber address the situation.
Find the Safe Areas and Practice the Drill
Everyone in the family, from youngest to oldest need to know what to do when an earthquake starts. Practice the steps they need to take so that if the time comes, they’ll be able to go through the motions on auto-pilot without having to think.
A Recent Survey Found That 9 Out Of 10 People Don’t Have A Survival Strategy In Place…If you are one of those people, you need to read this NOW
Since you never know where you might be in your home when the tremors start, you need to determine the closest safe area for each room. When doing a drill, make sure you practice the options for each room of the house so no one will be stuck in “limbo”.
Put Together a Survival Plan and Stock Up Accordingly
Emergency supply kits are not just for winter storms. In the event of a smaller quake where evacuation isn’t needed, local services can still be off-line for a while.
Put together a survival kit that will allow you to survive without outside assistance for a minimum of 3 days.
Know Where People Will Be
Create a list of addresses, telephone numbers, and the evacuation sites for the schools, employment and other locations that your family member go to the most frequently as well as a trusted out-of-state contact number. Often in emergency situations, local lines become overloaded as people try to contact family and friends to see if they are ok, whereas long-distance lines will stay less busy and may be easier to get through on. Having a central, out of state number that separated families can call allows everyone to report in and find out the status of those they aren’t near.
Make sure everyone has a copy of this list and knows who to call. Include a copy in your car and your survival kits.
To know more about how your area handles emergency situations, consider getting involved in the local volunteer programs. Training and volunteer opportunities are usually available. FEMA also works with local governments to provide free training and volunteer opportunities through its Citizen Corps and Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) programs.