Earthquakes are sudden shaking of the earth due to the shifting of rocks under the surface. They can range from weak ones that no one can feel to rather violent ones that can wreak widespread destruction. That’s why earthquake preparedness is so vital. Everyone who lives in an earthquake zone should take heed!
While we already have the technology to measure the intensity of earthquakes, predicting them is another story. No one knows when an earthquake will happen. Even so, there are some things you can do to prepare for an earthquake.
But, before we discuss these earthquake preparedness tips, let’s talk about some common facts about earthquakes.
Facts About Earthquakes
- Earthquakes happen on the tectonic plates or large sections of the Earth’s crust.
- Smaller earthquakes may happen before and after large earthquakes.
- Foreshocks are smaller earthquakes that happen before a large earthquake.
- Aftershocks are smaller earthquakes that happen after a large earthquake.
- The Moment Magnitude Scale or the Richter scale is the scale used to measure the strength of an earthquake.
- An earthquake with a magnitude of at least 9.0 is strong enough to cause large-scale damage.
- The epicenter is the location on the surface directly above where an earthquake starts.
- A large earthquake on the ocean floor can cause a tsunami.
Earthquake Preparedness: Top 9 Tips
Now that you know some facts about earthquakes, let’s now discuss some earthquake preparedness tips.
#1: Be Knowledgeable About Your Location
The first thing you should do is to know about the place where you live. Researching about the place will give you an idea if it is a seismically-active or a place where a lot of earthquakes occur.
While California and Alaska are two earthquake-prone states in the US, there are many other states that have a high risk of earthquakes. These include Arkansas, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington, among others.
Knowing if the place where you live is earthquake-prone will give you a heads-up and allow you to make the necessary preparations long before an earthquake occurs.
If you live close to the coastal areas, you should remember the risk of a tsunami in case a large earthquake occurs. In these instances, you should already have several routes to take to reach higher ground right after an earthquake.
Additionally, take note of any steep hills close to your home since these may be prone to landslides when an earthquake occurs.
#2: Family Preparedness Plan
A family preparedness plan should be in place long before an earthquake strikes. You should talk about earthquakes and what each member of the family should do when it comes.
The plan should also include ways of communicating with each other in case everyone gets separated. Moreover, it should also include a designated safe place where you can meet once the shaking stops.
All the members of the family should know what to do in case an earthquake comes. Everyone should know where they can stay at home, school, or workplace during an earthquake. These places can be under furniture or close to an interior wall.
Another thing you should do is to keep a pair of rubber-soled, closed-toe shoes under everyone’s bed. This is necessary in case broken glass will be everywhere after an earthquake. You may also want to put a flashlight under the bed as well.
Aside from ensuring proper communication between the members of the family, the plan will also reduce fear among the younger members of the family.
How to Prepare for an Earthquake
#3: Make a Household Evacuation Plan
You should have a household evacuation plan in case it is necessary to leave the house. The plan should also include your pets. It is also important to know where you will go when you evacuate.
With this, you should check the emergency response plans of your community. The authorities will likely have a place where families can stay following an earthquake. Just double-check if these places allow pets.
You can also consider staying in a hotel or motel that allows pets. Another option is the home of relatives or friends living in a safe distance.
Additionally, you should identify the responsibilities of each member of the household. It is also necessary to practice the plan so everyone will be familiar with what they are supposed to do.
#4: Practice Makes Perfect
Practicing the household evacuation plan is essential to ensure everyone knows what to do when you need to leave your house following an earthquake. Aside from the evacuation plan, everyone should also practice the Drop, Cover, and Hold protocol during an earthquake.
The Drop, Cover, and Hold protocol is basically dropping down to your hands and knees at the start of an earthquake. Then, you will use your arms to cover your head and neck and taking cover under a sturdy desk or table. Lastly, you should hold on to the desk or table and move with it if it moves.
Practicing the Drop, Cover, and Hold protocol allows you to be more familiar with it. Being familiar with it will make the protocol second nature to you. It also allows you to be aware of the furniture you can hide under during an earthquake.
At home, you can practice this protocol with all members of your family. You should make sure the children will understand what to do when an earthquake hits.
#5: Secure Items at Home
Securing items at home is another thing that you can do to prepare for an earthquake. You wouldn’t want your precious belongings to fall on the floor and shatter to a thousand pieces.
The first thing you should do is to make sure to secure any heavy items you have in your home. These heavy items include televisions, refrigerators, bookcases, and objects that you normally hang on the walls. Wall straps can be used to secure them.
If you’re planning to hang artwork on the walls, make sure they are properly secured. But, you should avoid hanging heavy items over places where people normally sleep, like beds and couches. Making sure they are secure reduces the risk of them falling.
You can also place large or heavy objects close to the floor. Similarly, breakable china and glass objects can be placed on the lower shelves of your cabinet.
You should also brace and bolt water heaters and gas appliances. But, you should also a professional to install flexible fittings to avoid any water or gas leaks.
It is also important for you to know how to shut off gas valves in the house using a wrench. The wrench should be placed close to the gas valves so you won’t have to go around looking for it when you need it. Similarly, you should also learn how to shut off power and water in the house.
Quakehold! Furniture Strap Kit
- Flexible nylon straps are safer than ridge L brackets
- These furniture straps are the strongest most versatile straps available today
- Easy to install
- Flexible nylon straps stop top-heavy items such as china cabinets, wall units, entertainment centers...
- One end peels and presses onto furniture, the other screws into wall stud
These flexible nylon straps are the most versatile and strongest straps available in the market. You can use them on cabinets, entertainment centers, and wall units. They can also be used to secure bookcases, grandfather clocks, and furniture.
QuakeHOLD! Universal Flat Screen Safety Straps
- Developed to prevent modern Flat Screen TVs from toppling over in the event of an earthquake
- Features two strong, nylon straps with locking buckles
- Secures flat screen TVs up to 70" and 150 lbs
- Easy peel and press installation
- Great for child proofing
If you have a flat-screen TV, you can use the QuakeHOLD! Universal Flat Screen Safety Straps to prevent them from toppling over during an earthquake. It has a pair of nylon straps featuring locking buckles to secure your television. The straps can secure televisions weighing up to 150 lbs.
#6: Check your Insurance Policy
You should also consider getting an earthquake insurance policy for your home. Earthquake damage is not normally covered by a standard homeowner’s insurance. With earthquake insurance, you can protect your property and belongings in case an earthquake occurs.
While it may be somewhat costly, it’s worth it.
#7: Don’t Forget Your Pets
There has been a longstanding belief that pets can sense an earthquake. Since the verdict on this belief is still out, you should include your pets in your earthquake preparedness plan.
You should know a safe place where you can bring your pet when you evacuate. This means you should have a list of hotels and motels that allow pets on the premises.
Another thing you should do is to prepare an emergency kit for your pet. It should contain food and water good enough for at least three days. If you have no idea about the kit you should assemble, check out the options we found for you:
GETREADYNOW Emergency Survival Kits
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The GETREADYNOW Emergency Survival Kit comes with a treat bag, dog first aid kit, heavy-duty leash, and a water bowl, among others. Moreover, the emergency kit also comes with a multipurpose tool, body warmer, and Mylar blanket.
Redfora Complete Emergency Bag for Cats
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- FIRST AID: 107-Piece First Aid Kit
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The Redfora Complete Emergency Bag for Cats contains food and water for your cats. It also comes with a feeding bowl, collar with a bell, cat toys, and a leash. To top it all off, the kit also has a 107-piece first aid kit for the furry member of the family.
#8: Reinforce the House
Reinforcing your home should be in your earthquake preparedness to-do list. You can ask a professional to check for any weaknesses in the house that make it vulnerable to earthquakes. After taking note of these vulnerabilities, work on making it earthquake-resistant
Some of the things that you can check are the exterior features of the house. These features include decks, porches, canopies, carports, garage doors, and sliding glass doors. You should also check structures that are not attached to the foundations of the house.
Make sure you make the necessary improvements to reduce any instances of the house collapsing on you during an earthquake.
#9: Prepare an Earthquake Emergency Kit
Lastly, you should prepare an earthquake emergency kit. The kit should contain all the necessary supplies you need to survive for at least three days. It should also be easy to carry in case you need to leave in a hurry.
At a minimum, the kit should contain the following:
- Non-perishable food
- Hand-crank or battery-powered radio
- Extra batteries
- Multi-purpose tool
- First aid kit
- Prescription medication
- Personal hygiene items
- Mobile phone and chargers
- Copies of important documents, such as passports, proof of address, medical information, and insurance policies
- Emergency contact numbers
- Maps of your area
- Extra cash
If you’re unsure about the emergency kit you want to purchase, you can consider what we found in the market.
72HRS Essential Earthquake Preparedness Kit
- ✅ 【72 HOURS EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS FOR 4 PEOPLE】: We carry the best 4 Person Emergency Kit to...
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The 72HRS Essential Earthquake Preparedness Kit contains supplies for four people. It has a five day supply of food and water for four people. Moreover, it is also equipped with the vital tools you need to survive following a natural disaster.
EVERLIT Survival First Aid Kit
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The EVERLIT Survival First Aid Kit has more than enough first aid supplies to treat everyone in the family. In addition to the first aid kit, it also comes with a multi-function paracord bracelet, tactical flashlight, flint stone, rain poncho, glow sticks, and a knife.
Emergency Zone Stealth Tactical Bug-Out Bag
- ✅ Discrete: Sometimes, being prepared can be the very thing that gets you in trouble. Desperate...
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The Emergency Zone Stealth Tactical Bug-Out Bag contains food and water supplies for two people. It also comes with a hygiene and sanitation kit, dome tent, radio flashlight, multipurpose tool, and first aid kit, among others.
The unpredictability of earthquakes makes it all the more important for you to make the necessary preparations long before it happens.
Have your Say about Earthquake Preparedness
Do you have any tips or tricks for how to prepare for an earthquake in style? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think. We’d love to hear from you.
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Last update on 2020-05-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API