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Unfortunately, an earthquake is one event which doesn’t provide us with much advanced notice. While there may be a few minutes between the quake and the tsunami that follows, if you are unprepared the limited time will not be enough. For those who are in the earthquake, lack of preparation will mean injury or worse. Here are seven tips to successfully prepare for an earthquake.
1) Locate all of the local and regional earthquake support options.
These resources can often provide the most current information, training and potential resources needed for preparing and actually dealing with an earthquake, and the aftermath as well. One good place to start is the FEMA website. There you will find a good assortment of information and tools to help you prepare your home and yourself for an earthquake.
2) Learn all of the recommended evacuation routes and assembly areas.
Your local city government or emergency management agency will often provide maps and instruction regarding assembly areas which will be available following an earthquake or other disaster. For your family, the need for a place to meet will be much more important should an earthquake occur while you and your spouse are at work and your children are in school. It is possible to be dispersed over an area spanning many miles. Knowing not only the primary location to meet-up, but also three or four other options can be important. If your house has been destroyed, or is in such bad shape you cannot safely enter, turn to the first optional location. If for some reason you cannot get to that first option, or it is too dangerous to use, move on to option two. Follow this process until you are successful at finding a safe location which has been identified and communicated to all.
3) Examine your surroundings and identify the best place(s) to be when an earthquake occurs.
It is critical to know the best place prior to an earthquake occurring. In most cases it will be under a table or desk where you are able to safely get your whole body covered.
4) Create an earthquake preparedness action plan for your family.
An early step in the process should be to create an earthquake preparedness survival plan for your family.
5) Make your home earthquake-worthy.
Completing an earthquake audit of your house both inside and out is a very worthwhile step in making your home earthquake worthy. Your goal is to identify every preparedness gap in your home. Is your home firmly attached to the foundation? Are all large cabinets and shelves affixed to the wall? Are heavy items either strapped in-place or moved to lower positions? These are just a few of them many considerations as you complete your audit.
6) Assemble the supplies and equipment required to not only survive the earthquake, but also to survive after an earthquake occurs.
Water, food, prescription medications, first aid and hygiene supplies, clothing, tools, documents, shelter, protection and security are all among the considerations as you assemble your supplies and equipment.
There should be two sets of supplies and equipment. If you are like most, your plan is to remain or return to your home following an earthquake. If that is the case, build a supply store to support all who will be with you. Determine the amount of time you must prepare for and what items will be required. The second is a bug-out-bag for each family member. The bug-out-bag is there should you be unable to stay in your home. It should contain at least one day’s supplies, and preferably three. As you build your bug-out-bag, remember each person will be carrying their bag as they are leaving your home and making way to your planned new location. Make it too heavy and you lose time and likely will end up unloading items.
7) Practice, Practice, Practice.
Hold earthquake drills with your family. Making this a part of your survival routine will allow family members to become more comfortable with what to do, how to do it, when to do it, where to go. Repetition will make each person more confident about their role and actions to take. Practice drills are also a great way to evaluate your plans for gaps. The time to find problems is before an earthquake occurs, not as you are trying to survive the actual earthquake.
The steps identified in this article should help you get started in your preparations to an earthquake. Take the time to read books and other information about earthquakes and specifically about earthquakes which may strike your area. Adjust your equipment and supplies to meet the specific needs of your family.