7 Steps for Earthquake Safety and Free Preparedness Checklist
Whether you live along the West Coast, Central U.S., in Alaksa or Hawaii, these 7 steps for earthquake safety will help you and your family be as prepared as possible in the event of an earthquake.
This article is for those of you that might be a new resident in an earthquake-prone area or would like a refresher of best practices before, during, and after an earthquake. I have compiled an outline of the seven steps to earthquake safety.
Along with winter safety (read article here), earthquake awareness (for Central United States) is observed in the month of February. When you think of earthquake hotspots in the U.S., most of us recall news of devastation along the San Andreas fault in California or the Aleutian Islands in Alaska. You may be wondering why Central U.S.?
According to the Central United States Earthquake Consortium (CUSEC), “Faults are buried deep underground and are generally categorized as “seismic zones”, or areas where many smaller faults are clustered together to produce seismic activity. While some zones, such as the New Madrid Seismic Zone, may be more widely known, others such as the East Tennessee and Central Virginia Seismic Zones can also produce damaging earthquakes at any time.”
Visit the CUSEC site here for more information.
In fact, small earthquakes are very common; this region experiences a hundred or more smaller earthquakes every year. In most cases, it is not the movement of the ground that causes harm and injury to people but falling objects as a result of an earthquake. The age of buildings and structures along with the duration of the shaking are the two biggest factors that determine the amount of damage to a building.
For much more detail, check out: http://cusec.org/.
Also, download my FREE Earthquake Preparedness Checklist printable.
BEFORE the next earthquake:
1. SECURE YOUR SPACE
Consider how furniture and belonging will move when shaken sideways. First, move large shelves and bookcases away from beds and couches where you and others spend a lot of time. Second, move heavier objects to lower shelves. Third, consider securing large shelves and furniture to walls with strong tethers to prevent tipping. And finally, move heavy pictures and mirrors from over beds.
“According to a study from the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA), 55% of the injuries during the Northridge earthquake were caused by falling furniture or objects.”CUSEC – A partnership to mitigate disasters and save lives…
2. PLAN TO BE SAFE
First, you want to make sure everyone in your household knows safe spots in each room in which to hide. Safe spots include under sturdy desks and tables. Next, you want to practice Drop, Cover, and Hold on. In the event that you may be separated from your home and family, designate a place outside your home to meet up when the shaking stops. Also, choose an out-of-state contact person who can be called by everyone to relay information. And finally, keep copies of essential documents, records, and a household inventory in a waterproof container.
3. CREATE AND/OR ORGANIZE YOUR EMERGENCY KIT
An emergency kit is recommended for so many disasters. A kit for each member of the family would be extremely useful and if possible, keep one easily accessible at home, in your car, and at work.
A few of the emergency kit basics are as follows: nonperishable food, water, flashlight, portable radios, batteries, a first aid kit, cash, extra medications, a whistle, and extra pair of clothes, shoes and coat, and copies of important phone numbers and information.
For a more detailed list, download the Earthquake Safety Checklist below.
4. MINIMIZE FINANCIAL HARDSHIP
In your emergency kit, be sure to pack the following important documents:
- Copies of identification,
- Copies of insurance cards,
- List of emergency contact numbers, and a
- Hard drive of photos/videos of your household belongings.
Additionally, you may want to consider purchasing homeowners or renters earthquake insurance.
DURING an earthquake:
5. DROP, COVER, AND HOLD ON
Drop onto your hands and knees where you are. Next, cover your head and neck with one hand and arm. Then, if shelter is nearby, crawl underneath a table or desk. If no cover is nearby, stay on your knees and fold over your body to protect your vital organs.
Hold on to your shelter with one hand until the shaking stops. If no shelter is available, possibly move toward an interior wall and then hold your head and neck with both arms and legs. Do NOT attempt to move to a different room or run outside.
6. IMPROVE SAFETY
Assist others with first aid needs.
Look around new hazards such as fire, gas leaks, water main breaks, downed power lines, and significant damage to your building. Report the damage to the city or county government.
Evacuate if necessary. If you live near the ocean or large lake and Tsunami waves may affect your area, try to reach higher ground either by walking on foot or by going to a higher floor if your building is still safe. If Tsunamis are not a threat, evacuate your building only if necessary. Consider a friend’s house or community shelter.
If you get trapped, signal for help with a cell phone, a whistle or by knocking 3 times regularly.
AFTER the earthquake:
7. RECONNECT AND RESTORE
After dealing with the immediate needs of yourself and those around you, keep informed of local recovery actions by tuning in to a local radio station or community pages on your cell phone.
Report damages to your insurance agency to begin the claims process. Take photos of any damage to your property and home. Contact your out-of-area contact person and check on your neighbors.
Make arrangements to secure food and water if there is no power in your home. If necessary, temporarily relocate to a friend’s home or emergency shelter until it is safe to be at your home.
For a more detailed list of how to secure your space, download the FREE printable I provide to my email subscribers.
Leave a comment below if you have any experience with earthquake recovery. What did you find most useful?