Earthquakes can have devastating impacts on lives, buildings, homes, wildlife, and the landscape. A natural disaster can wipe out a whole neighborhood or region, rendering thousands of people homeless and taking countless lives.
Although we cannot control what happens in nature, we can always do our best to prepare ourselves and our families for the worst. Earthquake preparation gives you and your family the best chance at coming through it unscathed, and adequately readying your home minimizes the risk of damage.
Reducing the potential impact of a natural disaster on your family and home requires a plan. Here are five key steps to prepare your family in the event of an earthquake.
Create an Emergency Kit
To prepare for an earthquake, it’s important to have more than one emergency kit. You should assemble enough items to create at least two supply bags.
The first bag should contain emergency safety supplies such as a first aid kit, flashlights, batteries, gasoline, matches, fire extinguisher, pocket knife, hand sanitizer, whistle, and blankets.
The second bag should contain food, water, and more medical supplies. Ensure that there is ample canned or dried foods, water, and prescription medications.
If possible, have individual “go-bags” for each member of the household in case there’s a need to evacuate.
Strategize an Emergency Plan
Having an emergency plan is arguably the most important step. You can have all the supplies in the world, but accidents will happen when there’s no clear strategy. Keep in mind that each family’s plan will differ depending on their specific circumstances. However, there are some important general points to cover:
- Consider various scenarios, including one where nobody is at home.
- Brainstorm ideas to cover all angles.
- Agree on a safe point in the house and neighborhood to assemble.
- Know where emergency kits are stored.
- Plot escape routes from your house, neighborhood, and city.
- Consider that electricity and communication links may be down.
- Create an emergency contact list.
Quake-Proof Your Home
There are several potential safety hazards in your home that specifically apply to earthquakes. Under normal circumstances, heavy furniture or equipment isn’t an issue. However, if an earthquake hits, these items can be thrown through the air, causing major damage.
Secure heavy furniture to a wall or floor and place heavy items on low shelves. Avoid leaving any unsecured items above head height.
Learn How to Turn Off Your Water Heater
In the event of an earthquake, it’s critical that you turn off your water and gas valves. Any appliances connected to a gas line must be turned off to prevent a gas leak, fire, or even explosion. All family members should know how to do this.
Damage to a water heater can cause a dangerous CO2 leak. If you have any concerns about yours, make sure to contact The Water Heater Company in West Hills.
Utilities shouldn’t be turned back on until the necessary authorities say it’s safe to do so.
Real-life emergencies can induce serious panic. An unexpected turn could jeopardize your plan. Therefore, it’s vital that you practice and drill your earthquake procedures several times. This will familiarize the protocol and make everyone much calmer when an earthquake happens.