How To Prepare And Survive During An Earthquake
If you have ever felt an earthquake you know that it is a very weird and frightening experience. Earthquakes are happening more often and in places they normally do not occur. It is important to have a plan of action just in case you ever experience an earthquake.
You should try not to panic during an earthquake. Even though it is a scary experience you should try to remain as calm as possible so you can remember some basic rules when it comes to responding to an earthquake. You should always take cover under a table or something heavy and brace yourself. You should avoid any room that has many loose objects that could become flying objects during an earthquake. You should not stand in a doorframe during an earthquake, this is a common myth and a swinging door can easily injure you or someone in your family. If you find yourself in a car, do not abandon the car; remain in the car until the event is over. You should stay away from anything that might be above you such as light poles or long tree limbs. If you are in a tall building, never use the elevator, try to find the most interior part of the building and stay there.
Everyone in your family should be aware of the earthquake plan and this should be practiced on a regular basis. Small children will be less frightened if they know what to do should an earthquake occur. You should never try to hold your pets down during an earthquake; they naturally will take cover and might become aggressive if you do not let them flee on their own.
The best plan for earthquake survival is to prepare ahead of time. You can do this with an earthquake survival kit. Earthquake survival kits can include many items to secure pictures, furniture, computers, and televisions. These objects can become deadly during an earthquake and block exits entrapping you and your family.
It is a good idea to keep other survival items handy in case of an earthquake. Your water supply may become jeopardized. You should have water boxes or pouches available and a good supply depending on the size of your family. Alternatives to water boxes or pouches are water purification tablets and a water filtration bottle. Food rations should also be kept on hand in case of emergency and can be purchased for cats and dogs as well. These items can prepare you for more than an earthquake, this is great preparation for any disaster.
You should also have a flashlight available with extra batteries if your power source is interrupted. A radio is also a good idea if you have lost power, you can find out where to go for emergency help and how to get there safely.
A first aid kit should be purchased and be accessible. You may need this for your family or you may encounter someone that could use first aid assistance. It is important to keep shoes available in case you have to walk to prevent contact with anything dangerous in the roadway.
After shocks is another concern after an earthquake. Aftershocks should be expected and you should treat them as you would an earthquake. These can be just as dangerous as the earthquake itself. Make sure everyone in your family is prepared for aftershocks and knows what to do in case you experience one.
With preparation you can prevent injury or even death during and after an earthquake. While many people think it will never happen to them, an earthquake can strike at any time without warning. If you and your family are prepared, it can make all the difference.
Here's what you can do to prepare for such an emergency.
Prepare a Home Earthquake Plan
- Choose a safe place in every room--under a sturdy table or desk or against an inside wall where nothing can fall on you.
- Practice DROP, COVER, AND HOLD ON at least twice a year. Drop under a sturdy desk or table, hold on, and protect your eyes by pressing your face against your arm. If there's no table or desk nearby, sit on the floor against an interior wall away from windows, bookcases, or tall furniture that could fall on you. Teach children to DROP, COVER, AND HOLD ON!
- Choose an out-of-town family contact.
- Consult a professional to find out additional ways you can protect your home, such as bolting the house to its foundation and other structural mitigation techniques.
- Take a first aid class from your local Red Cross chapter. Keep your training current.
- Get training in how to use a fire extinguisher from your local fire department.
- Inform baby sitters and care givers of your plan.
Eliminate Hazards, Including--
- Bolting bookcases, china cabinets, and other tall furniture to wall studs.
- Installing strong latches on cupboards.
- Strapping the water heater to wall studs.
Prepare a Disaster Supplies Kit For Home and Car, Including--
- First aid kit and essential medications.
- Canned food and can opener.
- At least three gallons of water per person.
- Protective clothing, rainwear, and bedding or sleeping bags.
- Battery-powered radio, flashlight, and extra batteries.
- Special items for infant, elderly, or disabled family members.
- Written instructions for how to turn off gas, electricity, and water if authorities advise you to do so. (Remember, you'll need a professional to turn natural gas service back on.)
- Keeping essentials, such as a flashlight and sturdy shoes, by your bedside.
Know What to Do When the Shaking Begins
- DROP, COVER, AND HOLD ON! Move only a few steps to a nearby safe place. Stay indoors until the shaking stops and you're sure it's safe to exit. Stay away from windows. In a high-rise building, expect the fire alarms and sprinklers to go off during a quake.
- If you are in bed, hold on and stay there, protecting your head with a pillow.
- If you are outdoors, find a clear spot away from buildings, trees, and power lines. Drop to the ground.
- If you are in a car, slow down and drive to a clear place (as described above). Stay in the car until the shaking stops.
Identify What to Do After the Shaking Stops
- Check yourself for injuries. Protect yourself from further danger by putting on long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, sturdy shoes, and work gloves.
- Check others for injuries. Give first aid for serious injuries.
- Look for and extinguish small fires. Eliminate fire hazards. Turn off the gas if you smell gas or think it's leaking. (Remember, only a professional should turn it back on.)
- Listen to the radio for instructions.
- Expect after shocks. Each time you feel one, DROP, COVER, AND HOLD ON!
- Inspect your home for damage. Get everyone out if your home is unsafe.
- Use the telephone only to report life-threatening emergencies.