Friday, July 5, 2019

50 Earthquake Preparedness Tips

Since yesterday's major earthquake in Southern California has been on the news nearly non-stop since it happened, this is a good time to remember that everyone should be prepared for an earthquake whether you live in a seismically active zone or somewhere that might someday have a rare earthquake occurrence.  Here's 50 tips to get started:

  1. Have working smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms in your home.
  2. Have working fire extinguishers in your home.
  3. Have a gas line shut off tool in a convenient and easy to get to place (make sure everyone in the home knows how to use it).
  4. Make sure everyone in the family knows how to shut off the main electricity breaker in your home as well as how to access the main water shut off for your home.
  5. Take a Community Emergency Response Team course in your community.
  6. Take a basic first aid course (and an advanced first aid course if available).
  7. Have a comprehensive first aid kit on hand.
  8. Determine if you should have earthquake insurance; purchase this if possible.
  9. Have a good assortment of earthquake and preparedness apps on your phone.
  10. Utilize other online earthquake preparedness resources and websites too (examples here, here, and here).
  11. After an earthquake, monitor local news sources (radio, TV, social media) for up-to-date information and emergency response news.
  12. After an earthquake consider texting instead of calling to leave phone lines open for emergency calls.  Also, avoid calling 911 unless you specifically need emergency medical/fire/rescue help.
  13. Consider seismic retrofitting for your home.
  14. Secure the items in your home to mitigate the damage caused by an earthquake.
  15. Study up on earthquakes and earthquake safety (examples here, here, and here).
  16. Participate in the Great ShakeOut.
  17. Create a Family Emergency Plan.
  18. Always keep your shoes, keys, wallet, phone, and EDC/BOB near your bed so you can grab these items and go in the event of a nighttime earthquake.
  19. Put together a Bug Out Bag for each family member and leave them in an easy to access place.
  20. Create a family emergency communication plan.
  21. Always keep your vehicle's gas tank at least half full.
  22. Have the gear which will allow you to camp outside your home in the event of a major quake (tent, sleeping bag, cooking gear, etc).
  23. Keep a video and/or written home inventory for insurance purposes.
  24. Know how to assess your home for damage after an earthquake. 
  25. Whether inside your home our outside your home, after a major earthquake be aware of any hazards you should avoid including downed power lines, unstable/unsafe structures, broken glass, gas leaks, fire, crumbling buildings, etc.
  26. Know what to do during an earthquake.
  27. Know what to do after an earthquake.  More info here.
  28. Stay in good physical shape (sheltering under a desk and climbing out over rubble is difficult if you are in poor physical shape).
  29. Always keep extra prescription and other necessary medications on hand in case you can't access your pharmacy after an earthquake.
  30. Have a good amount of cash on hand to use in case of emergency.
  31. Keep digital copies of all important documents on a thumb drive in your EDC/BOB; keep the originals in a safe deposit box or a fireproof/waterproof safe.
  32. Stockpile food and water to use in the event of an extended emergency.
  33. Consider getting a generator to use in the event of an extended power outage (don't forget to safely stockpile enough fuel for it).
  34. Have alternate forms of transportation in case roads are inaccessible to vehicles (bicycle, boat, motorcycle, etc).
  35. Have triple-redundant plans for water, heating, cooling, cooking, electricity, food, waste disposal, etc.
  36. Be prepared to render assistance after an earthquake (but don't risk your own life to do this) including search and rescue, medical aid, extrication, evacuation, etc.
  37. Put together a disaster response plan specific to any special circumstances in your life (people with severe medical conditions, if you have infants or small children, if you or your family/neighbors are elderly or infirm, if you have pets or livestock, etc).
  38. Consider becoming licensed to use a HAM radio; a HAM radio may be your only form of communication during a region-wide disaster.
  39. Have basic items on hand for extrication after an earthquake (gloves, face mask, breaker bar, shovels, picks, sturdy shoes, safety goggles, headlamp, etc).
  40. Know how to mark yourself as safe after a disaster (here and here).
  41. Have multiple ways to power your electronics when the power goes out (rechargeable batteries, solar charger, AC/DC converter for your vehicle, battery banks, etc.).
  42. Google for local resources on earthquake preparedness (examples here, here, and here).
  43. Be prepared to evacuate your area after a disaster if necessary.
  44. Be connected to social media (Facebook, Twitter, Reddit); this is often the quickest way to access information on earthquakes and other disasters.  Note: as I was writing this post we experienced a big aftershock; my social media feeds lit up like a Christmas tree with reports of the earthquake...and people freaking out.
  45. Be sure to have your pets and livestock microchipped.  Animals tend to respond to an earthquake before humans and often panic and run away, with a microchip your animal will be easily identified if found.
  46. After a wide-spread disaster, be prepared to band together with others for both safety and the sharing of skills and resources.
  47. Know where to apply for assistance after a disaster (examples here and here).
  48. Consider reporting any earthquakes you feel for research purposes.
  49. If you live in a coastal area, also be prepared for tsunamis.
  50. Be prepared for additional aftershocks which are common after major earthquakes.

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