Emergency Packing For An EarthquakeWhat is an earthquake?
An earthquake is the sudden movement of the earth's crust, created by the
release of built-up stress that has accumulated along geologic faults in the
earth. earthquakes can also be caused by movement of magma and other volcanic
activity. There are geographical areas that are susceptible to earthquake
activity due to their proximity to these faults, particularly in California.
Physical Properties: Fractures in the earth's crust in which sections of rock
have slipped past each other are called faults. The release of energy is in the
form of low-frequency sound waves called seismic waves. There are thousands of
earthquakes occurring annually, but most are very weak and cannot be detected
by human beings. They are, however, recorded by seismographs, which are
instruments designed to detect the planet's vibrations and movements. The
seismic focus is the point where the earthquake originates. Directly above it,
on planet's surface, is the epicenter.
Three types of waves that accompany earthquakes:
• Primary (P) waves have a "push/pull" vibration.
• Secondary (S) waves have a "side-to-side"
• Surface (L) waves, named after the nineteenth-century
British mathematician A.E.H. Love, travel along the surface of the planet's surface,
and cause the major damage in an earthquake.
Note: P and S waves travel deep into planet, and reflect off the surfaces of
its various geologic layers. S waves are unable to penetrate the liquid outer
core of the planet
The sum total of the energy released by an earthquake is measured on the
Richter scale. The Richter scale is as follows: Each increase by a factor of
one corresponds to a 10X increase in the strength of a quake. Those above a
factor of seven on the Richter scale are considered to be severe earthquakes.
To survive an earthquake in one of these areas, you should acquaint yourself
with the causes and preparedness in the event of an earthquake disaster. You
cannot stop the earthquake from coming but you can understand and ACT!
Prepare your family before
• Have an earthquake survival kit on hand.
• All family members should know how to turn off gas, water,
• Plan family emergency procedures, and make plans for
reuniting your family.
• Know emergency telephone numbers (doctor, hospital, police,
• Anchor heavy objects to walls (bookcases, wall units,
mirrors, cabinets, etc.)
• Never place heavy objects over beds, and keep heavy objects
lower than head height of shortest member of family.
What types of containers are safe for storage?
• Food grade plastic or glass containers with tight fitting
• 2-liter soda bottles and other water or juice containers.
• New plastic containers for water storage can be found in
• Only purchase containers labeled for storage of food or
• Containers not labeled for food or beverage storage could
release harmful chemicals into the water.
Containers that have held toxic substances, because trace amounts may remain in
the container's pores
Containers that will decompose or break, such as milk cartons or glass bottles
Older glass jars may contains lead
Wash the containers and lids thoroughly with hot tap water and dish detergent
then rinse thoroughly with hot tap water. You do not need to boil water before
How to treat the water for storage
To treat water for storage, use liquid household chlorine bleach that contains
5.25% available chlorine.
Do not use bleach with soaps or scents added. Add the unscented bleach to
water, stir and allow it to stand for 30 minutes. Always use a sterile dropper.
The treated water should have a slight chlorine odor. If it does not, then
repeat the process.
4 drops of bleach per quart or liter of water
8 drops of bleach per 2 quart, 2 liter or ½ gallon of water
16 drops of bleach, ¼ teaspoon per gallon or 4 liters of water
How long should I store the water
and for how long?
Containers should be stored in a
cool and dry place because containers can degrade over time due to heat and
light. Hydrocarbon vapors can penetrate polyethylene plastics so store water in
plastic containers away from gasoline, kerosene, pesticides, or comparable
A gallon of water weighs over 8 pounds so make sure the shelves or area in
which you store the water is strong enough to support the weight.
For commercially bottled distilled or drinking water, check the label for an
expiration date. If not, mot should have a shelf-life of at least one year.
Another way to store water is to place it in a container in the freezer. It
will help to keep frozen foods safe until power is restored. Leave 2 to 3
inches of air space in the top of containers before freezing. This will keep
the container from breaking as water expands during freezing. Do not use glass
containers because they may break regardless of the air space that is allowed.
Purchase or put together a disaster kit: Disaster supplies should be purchased
and stored in readily accessible locations at home, work, and in your motor vehicle.
This can reduce the impact of an earthquake on you and your family.
How to put together an emergency
Items that you will need:
• Backpack or storage crate
• Bottled water
• First aid kit
• Multi-purpose knife (Swiss Army Knife)
• Sleeping bags or blankets
• Non-perishable foods
• Hand crank NOAA radio
• Hand crank flashlight
• Plates, cups and utensils
1. Store enough food to feed your family for 72 hours or 3
days. Foods should be high in protein such as peanut butter or beans. Also
store preserved fruits, energy bars and fruit juice. Avoid foods that will
spoil quickly. Canned foods, preserved, dried or dehydrated foods can be
stored. Be sure to pack a can opener.
2. Store enough water for your family for 72 hours or 3 days.
The average adult needs the minimum of two quarts. Store water purification
3. Buy or make a first aid kit.
4. Have some cash on hand in case your bank is not in
5. Include a hand crank flashlight or one with batteries in
case the power goes out.
6. Matches and flint in case you need to build a fire.
7. Blankets, pillows and/or sleeping bags for each person in
8. Hand crank or battery powered NOAA radio to get up to date
9. Multi-purpose knife that will be helpful in a variety of
10. Plates, cups and utensils.
*Check and update the pack and replace expired foods, broken containers or
*Store the pack in an easy to reach location.
People with special needs should:
• Create a support network.
• Let the people closest to you know your plan.
• Give one member of your support network a key to your house
• Contact your city or county government's emergency
information management office. Many local offices keep lists of people with
disabilities so they can be located quickly in a sudden emergency.
• Wear medical alert tags or bracelets to help identify your
• If you are dependent on dialysis or other life sustaining
treatment, know the location and availability of more than one facility.
• Show others how to operate your wheelchair.
• Know the size and weight of your wheelchair, in addition to
whether or not it is collapsible, in case it has to be transported.