April is Earthquake Preparedness Month – are you ready? It’s only a matter of time before we experience another quake like the 7.9 magnitude San Francisco quake of 1906. Experts cannot predict the date and time the next major earthquake will happen; all they can do is determine the probability. History has shown that Southern California has experienced major earthquakes, and the chance of a 6.7 or higher magnitude earthquake happening within the next 20 years is likely, according to the Southern California Earthquake Center. As residents, we need to be prepared.
Educating yourself and your family on current safety protocol could save your life. Below is a list on how to make your house a safer place in the event of an earthquake, and what to pack in case of an emergency.
Conduct a search for hazardous, unsecured items around the office, home, and school. Hazardous items include such things as unsecured televisions, hanging paintings, tall furniture, and bookshelves.
Have a plan in place that includes evacuation and reunion strategies, and include an out-of-state contact person’s name and phone number. Store the information with your disaster kit.
What every family member should know:
During an earthquake, drop to the floor, take cover under a study desk or table, and hold onto it firmly until the shaking subsides. If you are not near a table or desk, drop to the floor against an interior wall and protect your head and neck with your arms. Avoid exterior walls, windows, and any unsecured objects that could potentially fall on you. Do not go outside. If you are in bed, stay there and cover your head with a pillow. You are less likely to get hurt if you stay put.
Two things you should do following a major disaster are to check yourself and your loved ones for injuries requiring immediate medical attention, and check for property damage to pipes, drainage lines, etc.
Communication will be an important step in your recovery efforts. Turn on your portable radio to listen for information and safety advisories, and notify insurance agencies of any property damage as soon as possible.
When disaster strikes, make sure you have enough supplies to last three to seven days without electricity, running water, or transportation. Preparing a disaster kit beforehand with essential items can provide some peace knowing you are well-equipped.
Store kits in places where you spend the most time, including your home, car, and workplace or school. Keep all supplies in a backpack or easy-to-carry bag that you can take with you.
Be sure to replace perishable items such as food and medication on a yearly basis.
Some of the items on the list provided by emergency survival programs may seem unnecessary, but they can be multi-purpose. Large, heavy-duty plastic trash bags, for example, can be used for more than just waste – they can also serve as tarps and rain ponchos, among other things.
And don’t forget about your fluffy family members during an emergency, as they will also need food, medication, and water. Keep veterinarian contact info in the kit, as well as a list of any pet medical and/or behavioral problems. W
Your supply kit should include
- First aid kit
- Bottled water
- Sturdy shoes
- Medications, prescriptions, and copies of medical cards
- Out-of-state emergency contact information
- Non-perishable food with a high water and caloric content
- Flashlight with extra batteries and light bulbs
- Personal hygiene items
- Premoistened towelettes
- Comfort items and activities (such as crayons, writing paper, teddy bears, and playing cards)
- Extra clothes
- Copies of identification cards
For the House:
- Work gloves and protective goggles
- Large, heavy-duty plastic bags
- Portable radio (manually powered or with extra batteries)
- Drinking water
- Cooking utensils
- Pet food, dishes, medication, and leashes
- Blankets, sleeping bags, and/or tents
- Copies of vital documents including insurance policies and birth certificates
- Fire extinguisher