Earthquake Preparedness

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Plate tectonics affect the entire world and, just because you don’t think you live on a fault line, don’t expect to be safe from the ground-shaking motion of an earthquake.

Earthquakes shake everything if they’re strong enough. They can bring down buildings, crack roads, start fires and floods, and so much more. As of yet, there is not a warning for earthquakes before they hit you. If you think ones happening, better be safe than sorry.

So what should you do if the ground starts rocking?

First off, unless you live in an old adobe house, don’t go for the doorway (unless there isn’t a door there, anyway). Modern homes are built differently. The best method is the one we grew up with: duck and cover. If you have a sturdy table, desk, or something similar, get underneath it, curl up, and put your hands over your neck and as much of your skull as possible. This prevent falling debris from striking the most delicate part of your body.

After the shaking has stopped, grab family, pets, and emergency supplies, and get out of the house. You don’t know if the structure of your shelter was compromised, or if the quake caused a fracture in a gas-line. Hopefully, you already have a fire extinguisher on hand just in case of this situation. Go turn off the gas line if you are able.

Electricity may be down, so you’ll definitely need a source of light. Candles may suffice for some, but an aftershock (which is inevitable after any large quake) may cause the candle to tip and start a fire. It is better to have a lamp or flashlight. Many companies make crank or solar-powered radios and flashlight combinations, that also charge cell phones, but if you don’t have one of these, make sure you have extra batteries in your emergency kit.

A first aid kit is a necessity, as well. Things are bound to fall during a quake, and people are bound to be under them. Make sure everyone stays hydrated, but use water you know is purified in case the water pipe leaked as well. There are plenty of water purification supplies that will make any water drinkable.

You’ll need food rations, as well. If power goes out, then you won’t have a stove or refrigerator. You’ll need food that doesn’t perish.

Another good idea for your earthquake emergency kit is a whistle or flare of some sort, something to get the attention of rescue workers in case you get trapped in the debris.

No one is ever truly prepared for an earthquake, but it’s better to have something now than regret not having it later.

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