Planning for an Earthquake Emergency
7 Crucial Steps to Take before the Shaking Happens
On average, there are about 12-14,000 earthquakes that occur across the entire world every year. While they aren't always felt by citizens, in some areas across major earthquakes (greater than a 7 magnitude) may happen at least once a month. Although tremors and trembles are common due to the Earth's plate tectonics, they can be catastrophic if one is ill equipped. Fortunately, there are a few simple procedures that can better prepare you (and your home) if an earthquake emergency happened to strike in your area.
Earthquakes can & do strike anywhere; are you prepared?
Develop A Plan
First thing's first! Do you have an emergency plan in place? Pull your family members aside and start by discussing what to do in the event of an earthquake. This could be spoken about during a neighborhood planning session or between you and your family.
Do your family members or coworkers really understand what it means to "shelter-in-place?" Shelter-in-place is often life saving in the event of an earthquake. The quicker you and your loved ones can get to safety (and the shorter the distance to safety) affects a lot when it comes to injuries related to earthquake disasters. It's been proven that people who move even just ten feet during an earthquake have a greater chance of being injured in the event.
Places like: under a table, in a doorway, or standing against an interior wall provide the most safety and support. You will want to make sure that your "shelter-in-place" spot is away from any wall hangings or tall bookcases that could potentially fall on you.
After you've picked the safest spots in your home to seek shelter in, discuss the importance of crouching with your head covered to reduce injury. It's crucial to make sure that everyone knows not to leave the area until the shaking has stopped. Be wary of any broken glass or other damages when moving locations.
Look familiar? Maybe you grew up practicing this drill in school!
Pick A Safe Place To Meet At
The most important part of earthquake preparedness is developing a simple plan with the members of your family. After the basics of shelter-in-place are discussed with your loved ones or coworkers, discuss where one should meet at after the tremors have stopped.
Those affected by an earthquake will want to be wary of "aftershock" tremors, and pick a meeting place accordingly. If you decide to meet outside, make sure that you are far away from any trees, power lines, or other building structures. Always make sure that your safe location is at least ten feet away from the entrances to buildings or other structures. Stay low to the ground if an aftershock tremor is felt. These could collapse and cause an injury during an earthquake.
Many are injured when leaving a building following an earthquake due to falling debris, broken glass, or fires. Instruct your family members to be cautious and move to the save area quickly. You should always make sure to cover your head, and use the stairs if exiting a multi-level building.
Take a First-Aid Class
Though they are terrible to think about, severe injuries can occur when dealing with any kind of natural disaster. Because earthquakes are commonly associated with broken gas lines, as is broken glass, fire related injuries and cuts are extremely common.
If a hospital is hard to reach in your area, or you don't want to have to worry about the commute in the event of a disaster, it's crucial to have even basic first-aid knowledge. Plan to take a training course from the American Red Cross or a similar organization that outlines the basics of first-aid, and earthquake preparation.
At the very least, the information could be used to care for someone until other help arrived. You never know if something you learn could save your life, or someone else's!
Common first aid kits used for emergencies
Build A 72-Hour Emergency Kit
No matter where you live, and no matter the kind of natural disaster your region is threatened by: everyone needs a 72 hour kid. This kit should provide you with enough food, water, and sustainance for 3 days--or 72 hours. In many cases, necessary first-aid and relief will arrive to help 72 hours after the natural disaster or emergency has occurred. Your 72-hour kit is designed to keep you alive until help arrives, and should have all of the necessary items to do so.
Include things like:
- Water (4 quarts of water per day per member of your household. Pets included.)
- Liquid Bleach and or Water Filter (for water purification)
- Canned foods (and granola bars)
- A complete first aid kit (many can be purchased at a local camping store!)
- Clothing/ sleeping bags (don't forget socks OR shoes, just in case)
- Toilet paper (because the situation is already dire enough..)
- Prescription medication ( and back ups, if necessary!)
Discuss the items needed with each member of your family, and have them put together a kit for emergencies. Additionally, it may not be a bad idea to add a favorite book, or a set of playing cards just in case you need to pass the time! Items in your earthquake emergency kits should be changed out every six months, and clothes should be changed out at least once yearly. It's not a great emergency kit if everything in it is expired or unusable!
Know Your Evacuation Route
Depending on your location, most states have evacuation routes set in place. Make sure that you are aware of the recommended evacuation route changes, should it be necessary. Also, some routes may be blocked due to damages, keep a radio to stay aware of any changes in evacuation recommendations. Keep in mind that gas for vehicles may be hard to come by, and plan for this accordingly.
Keeping your home and your family members safe isn't just about setting up a home security system (though it is important!) it's about preparing for emergencies, as well! Use this articles from Alarm Reviews to help you develop your emergency preparedness plan:
How do Home Security System Functions during an Earthquake?
Several panels have 'Smash and crash' technology. Learn more
Being a website that reviews home alarm systems, we thought we should add this section to the article. During natural disasters, it is very common for crime to increase. Looting and break ins happen during floods, tornadoes and hurricanes each year.
If your power goes out, a home alarm system has up to 10 days of battery life where it can still function. Because companies have multiple monitoring locations, if one of theirs gets hit and goes out your account automatically defers to a different station so you are always covered (assuming you are paying for monitoring).
If your residence was demolished during the incident then obviously there isn't much an alarm can do to help at that point, but if not it is still very handy and needed!
Our shaky conclusion
Making sure that your family is well equipped for any kind of natural disaster will leave you with quality peace of mind. By discussing what to do in the event of an emergency, you and your family can stay alive and stay safe until help arrives.