You will normally not have any forewarning that an earthquake is about to strike. They can come on suddenly and violently. It is therefore imperative that you plan ahead for such a disaster. By planning in advance you can minimize the potential risk to yourself and your family.
Earthquakes release stress, which will create / cause a permanent change in the Earth’s crust. The Earths way a releasing “stress”. The Plates move against each other’s until the lithosphere breaks or moves. If the force is large enough the “crust” is forced to break. The force then travels in the form of waves, which we feel and identify as an Earthquake.
Three types of Earthquakes are: Tectonic, Volcanic, Explosive and Collapse earthquakes.
Safety Check Your Home
- Shut off any gas main including propane tanks
- Put away all flammable and volatile chemicals and liquids on a low shelf or floor and away from people.
- Take down any hanging pictures and mirrors from walls and doors and store them securely.
- All glass and breakable items should be stored in a box or in a place that restricts them from falling on people and pets.
- If you are able, secure light fixtures. If not, make sure you are not standing directly under any of them during a quake or tremor.
- If time permits, fasten all shelving securely to walls.
- Repair any defective electrical wiring-this would be deemed a fire hazard.
- If there are any leaks in any gas system such as natural or propane, get them fixed. This is also an incendiary hazard.
- Secure a water heater by strapping it to the wall studs and bolting it to the floor.
- If your foundation or home has signs of structural damage or defects, you may want to seek out an expert and get them repaired.
Identify Safe Spots
- Stay away from all glass, windows, mirrors, hanging wall pictures and heavy bookcases.
- Use strong furniture such as a heavy desk or table to help shield you.
- Against an inside wall of your home, office or other structure.
- If you are caught out in the open stay away from buildings, trees, and telephone and electrical lines, overpasses, or elevated expressways.
Educate Yourself and Family Members
- Contact your local Emergency Management Office to ask for more information.
- Teach children how, why and when to call 9-1-1 for police or fire.
- Teach children which radio station to tune into for emergency information.
- Teach all family members how and when to turn off gas, electricity, and water.
Have Disaster Supplies on Hand
- Flashlight, battery lanterns and extra batteries.
- Portable crank or battery-operated radio and extra batteries.
- First aid kit and guidebook.
- Emergency food and water.
- Non-electric can opener.
- Essential medicines.
- Cash and credit cards.
- Extra clothing and supportive shoe wear for all family members.
Develop an Emergency Communication Plan
- In case family members are separated from one another during an earthquake (this is a real possibility if a quake should strike during daytime hours when adults are at work and children are at school); develop a communication plan and chain calling system for reuniting after the disaster.
- Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as the “designated family contact.” After a disaster, it’s often easier to call long distance. Make sure everyone in the family knows the name, address, and phone number of the contact person.
Help Your Community Get Ready
- Publish a special section in your local newspaper with emergency information on earthquakes. Localize the information by printing the phone numbers of local emergency services offices, the American Red Cross, and hospitals.
- Conduct a week-long series on locating hazards in the home.
- Work with local emergency services and American Red Cross officials to prepare special reports for people with mobility impairments on what to do during an earthquake.
- Provide tips on conducting earthquake drills in the home.
- Interview representatives of the gas, electric, and water companies about shutting off utilities.
- Work together in your community to apply your knowledge to building codes, retrofitting programs, hazard hunts, and neighborhood and family emergency plans.
- Consider having some type of personal defense tools or weapons with you after the earthquake. History has demonstrated that there is the possibility of lawlessness for a while amidst the chaos following disasters.