Earthquakes are receiving a lot of attention lately, from our own Great Utah Shake Out, to the new blockbuster movie being released this summer “San Andreas”. Unfortunately these things need to be more than just an action movie or a public announcement. Science flat out tells us that in many parts of the country we are due for a large earthquake to hit, and soon. The tragedy in Nepal reminds us that these are more then just warnings and we shouldn’t disregard them. The truth is that many of us live in areas where earthquakes are a very real possibility. It is extremely necessary to start preparing and to make sure that we are ready for when the time comes. We have made a list to get you started your preparations:
Prepare with supplies and a plan
When you start looking around for tips on preparing for earthquakes, step one is always to prepare and gather supplies. As we take a look at the past earthquakes it’s easy to see why this will always be number 1. The people that are the most in distress are the ones that haven’t taken the time to have a supply of food and emergency resources. We recommend starting right now by getting your food storage filled. Next, get a water purification system that doesn’t rely on electricity to function. Step 3 is to put a 72-hour kit in your car or office, so that no matter when it hits you will be able to get back to your loved ones. Don’t let yourself get caught off guard; this is going to happen, so be ready.
Secure your home
Our homes are where we can be the most in control when an emergency situation occurs. We should take advantage of this. Let’s go through a few steps that will turn your home into a fortress of solitude.
- Fasten every shelf securely to wall.
- Place large or heavy objects on lower shelves.
- Store fragile and breakable items such as bottles, glass, and china in low, closed cabinets with latches.
- Mirrors, frames, and hanging items should be fastened to the wall with closed hooks or earthquake putty. Do not hang heavy objects over beds, couches, or any place you may be seated or sleeping.
- Objects such as framed photos, books, lamps, and other items that you keep on shelves and tables can become flying hazards. Secure them with hooks, adhesives, or earthquake putty to keep them in place.
- Bookcases, filing cabinets, china cabinets, and other tall furniture should be anchored to wall studs or masonry. Use flexible straps that allow them to sway without falling to the floor.
- Electronics such as computers, televisions and microwave ovens are heavy and expensive to replace. Secure them with flexible nylon straps.
- Brace overhead light fixtures and top-heavy objects.
- Repair defective electrical wiring and leaky gas connections. These are potential fire risks. Get appropriate professional help.
- Install flexible pipefittings to avoid gas or water leaks. Flexible fittings are more resistant to breakage and are recommended.
- Secure your water heater, refrigerator, furnace and gas appliances by strapping them to the wall studs and bolting to the floor. If recommended by your gas company, have an automatic gas shut-off valve installed that is triggered by strong vibrations.
- Repair any deep cracks in ceilings or foundations. Get expert advice if there are signs of structural defects.
- Store weed killers, pesticides, and flammable products securely in closed cabinets with latches and on bottom shelves.
When the shaking starts
Retrieved From: phys.org
When an earthquake finally hits, you need to know what to look for and what to do.
If you find yourself inside
Retrieved From: shakeout.org
- Drop to your hands and knees. Then cover your head and neck with your arms. This position protects you from falling and provides some protection for vital organs. Moving can put you in danger from the debris in your path, only move if you need to get away from the danger of falling objects.
- Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls, and anything that could fall, such as lighting fixtures or furniture.
- If you are in bed: stay there and cover your head and neck with a pillow. At night, hazards and debris are difficult to see and avoid; attempts to move in the dark result in more injuries than remaining in bed.
- DO NOT get in a doorway as this does not provide protection from falling or flying objects and you likely will not be able to remain standing.
- Stay inside until the shaking stops and it is safe to go outside. Do not exit a building during the shaking. Research has shown that most injuries occur when people inside buildings attempt to move to a different location inside the building or try to leave.
- Be aware that the electricity may go out or the sprinkler systems or fire alarms may turn on.
- For more see this video
If you are outside
- If you can, move away from buildings, streetlights, and utility wires.
- Once in the open, drop, cover, and hold on. Stay there until the shaking stops. This might not be possible in a city, so be on the lookout for places to take cover.
If in a vehicle
- Stop as quickly as safety permits and stay in the vehicle. Avoid stopping near or under buildings, trees, overpasses, and utility wires.
- Proceed cautiously once the earthquake has stopped. Avoid roads, bridges, or ramps that might have been damaged by the earthquake.
If trapped under debris
- Do not light a match.
- Cover your mouth with a handkerchief or clothing.
- Tap on a pipe or wall so rescuers can locate you. Use a whistle if one is available. Shout only as a last resort.
When the shaking stops
- When the shaking stops, look around to make sure it is safe to move and there is a safe way out through the debris. Then exit the building.
- Expect aftershocks. These secondary shockwaves are usually less violent than the main quake but can be strong enough to do additional damage to weakened structures and can occur in the first hours, days, weeks, or even months after the quake. Drop, Cover, and Hold On whenever you feel shaking.
- Check for injuries and provide assistance if you have training. Assist with rescues if you can do this safely.
- Look for and extinguish small fires. Fire is the most common hazard after an earthquake. Never use a lighter or matches near damaged areas.
- Listen to a battery-operated radio or television for the latest emergency information.
- If you are near the coast, learn the tsunami risk for your area. If you are in an area that may experience tsunamis, when the shaking stops, walk inland or to higher ground immediately. Monitor official reports for more information on the area’s tsunami evacuation plans.
- Use the telephone only for emergency calls.
- Stay away from damaged areas. Stay away unless police, fire, or relief organizations have specifically requested your assistance. Return home only when authorities say it is safe.
- Be careful when driving after an earthquake and anticipate traffic light outages.
- After it is determined that its’ safe to return, your safety should be your primary priority as you begin clean up and recovery.
- Open cabinets cautiously. Beware of objects that can fall off shelves.
- Put on long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, sturdy shoes and work gloves to protect against injury from broken objects.