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Making Preparations For An Earthquake

making preparations for an earthquake

Living in California, Alaska, Oregon, Washington, or the New Madrid Fault Zone can mean that you can be subject to an earthquake at nearly any time.  There are other ‘hot spots’ including parts of Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, and Nevada.  Although seismic devices have been set out by scientists in an attempt to predict earthquakes, there really is no reliable way to give advance warning for an earthquake.  Studies of the behavior of animals prior to a temblor have been inconclusive.

Emergency Supplies

An earthquake can cause major disruptions to the services that we have come to depend on for our daily living: water, electricity, and gas.  Once these have been severed it will be impossible to get water out of the tap, cook food, and provide heating or lighting.  While crews will be working right away to restore these, if the disaster is widespread it could be days or even weeks before normality returns. 

Water is the most vital necessity; no one can live without it for very long.  You should plan on providing one gallon of water per day for each member of the family.  You can buy bottled water or bottle it yourself.  

Besides water, you should also have a supply of non-perishable food available.  Once again, this should be adequate for at least three days, but the more the better.  It is quite easy to assemble your emergency food supply from the grocery store as long as you choose canned or dried food.  You can also use pre-made food kits and supplies, which have a shelf life of several decades.

As an earthquake can happen at any time of the year, it would be a good idea to have a source of emergency heating available, such as a kerosene stove.  Make sure that you not only have adequate kerosene for fueling the stove, but also that it is safely stored.

Your Home

There are a number of things that you can do to make your home safer and more secure during an earthquake.  Many homes built prior to 1940 are not attached to their foundations.  This can cause the house to easily slide off the foundation during an earthquake.  Anchor bolts can be used to secure the house to the foundation.  The foundation itself should be checked for cracks, and these should be repaired, as should any cracks in the chimney – these are all weak spots that will be exploited negatively during an earthquake.

Quite a few people are injured during an earthquake because of falling objects in their home.  Large cabinets, refrigerators, and any other large piece of upright furniture should be secured to the floor.  Do not put heavy items that could tumble off onto someone onto shelves, and do not hang heavy pictures or other objects over places where the family sits.

Make sure you know how to turn off the electricity, water, and gas, so you can prevent any possible harm from these sources.  Place a strap around your hot water heater to keep it from being knocked over during the quake.