Earthquake Disaster Preparedness

Earthquake Disaster Preparedness

An earthquake is caused by a sudden slip on a fault. The tectonic plates are always slowly moving, but they get stuck at their edges due to friction. When the stress on the edge overcomes the friction, there is an earthquake that releases energy in waves that travel through the earth’s crust and cause the shaking that we feel.

In California, there are two plates – the Pacific Plate and the North American Plate. The Pacific Plate consists of most of the Pacific Ocean floor and the California Coastline. The North American Plate comprises most of the North American Continent and parts of the Atlantic Ocean floor. The primary boundary between these two plates is the San Andreas Fault.

Hence, It is advised that people who live in areas where the frequency of earthquakes is higher, to prepare for such unpleasant events.

Prepare an Emergency Kit

To assemble your kit store items in airtight plastic bags and put your entire disaster supplies kit in one or two easy-to-carry containers such as plastic bins or a duffel bag.

A basic emergency supply kit could include the following recommended items:

  •     Water (for drinking and sanitation)
  •     Food (Preferred canned)
  •       Battery-powered or hand-crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
  •       Flashlight
  •       First aid kit
  •       Extra batteries
  •       Whistle (to signal for help)
  •       Dust mask (to help filter contaminated air)
  •       Plastic sheeting and duct tape (to shelter in place)
  •       Moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties (for personal sanitation)
  •       Wrench or pliers (to turn off utilities)
  •       Manual can opener (for food)
  •       Local maps
  •   Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery

More additional items can contain cash, pet food, passports and important documents, extra glasses or lens solutions, and medicines (painkillers, etc.).

Know Your Safe Spots

Every family member should find a safe spot in every room that is under a study table or a fixed cabinet or shelf that has hard unbreakable wood. Safe spots help you from getting any head injuries. Try to keep your emergency kits near your safe spots so you don’t hurt yourself in the meantime.

Keep Walls Repaired

If your area witnesses many earthquakes that cause cracks in your walls, always get them repaired immediately. Cracks this time may cause the wall to fall in the other earthquake. Change your place if the frequency of wall cracks is more because its an indication that the house walls are weak, and the time maybe around the corner when they give up.

Securing Home Appliances

Appliances such as refrigerators, water heater, and gas appliances should be strapped or bolted to avoid them from falling and causing gas or electricity leaks in the place during an earthquake. A person should be well aware of the smell of natural gas and should stay hold something made of wood to protect himself from getting electrocuted.

Creating A Safe Environment

Natural Disasters are unpredictable, hence having a safe environment is the most essential thing. Creating a safe environment means avoiding the after-effects of an earthquake.

The Electricity connections of your home or office should not be defected. The wires should be isolated and should be bolted properly inside wood covers.

Heavy wall decorations such as painting etc. should be placed away from your safe spots and from areas that you usually sit in for example your bed, couch, and study table. Such items may fall and cause an injury, making you vulnerable.

Flammable products, weed killers, pesticides, poisonous solutions, etc. should be placed on lower shelves that must be closed properly. Heavy items or items that are easily breakable should also be placed in lower Shelves with latches.

Your home should brace over headlight fixtures and top-heavy lamps. Your home should also contain Emergency lights that get turned on whenever there is no light from the mainline.

Prepare by Doing Earthquake Drills

There is a three-step process: Drop, Cover, and Hold on that you and your family members should practice beforehand.

  •   Drop:

Wherever you are, drop down on to your hands and knees. If you’re using a wheelchair or walker with a seat, make sure your wheels are locked and remain seated until the shaking stops.

  •   Cover:

 Cover your head and neck with your arms. If a sturdy table or desk is nearby, crawl underneath it for shelter. If no shelter is nearby, crawl next to an interior wall (away from windows).

Crawl only if you can reach better cover without going through an area with more debris. Stay on your knees or bent over to protect vital organs.

  •   Hold on:

If you are under a table or desk, hold on with one hand and be ready to move with it if it moves. If seated and unable to drop to the floor, bend forward, cover your head with your arms and hold on to your neck with both hands.

Stay Safe After an Earthquake

If an earthquake has just happened, there can be serious hazards such as damage to the building, leaking gas and water lines, or downed power lines.

  •       Expect aftershocks to follow the main shock of an earthquake.
  •     Check yourself to see if you are hurt and help others if you have training
  •       If you are in a damaged building, go outside and quickly move away from the building. Do not enter damaged buildings.
  •       If you are trapped, protect your mouth, nose, and eyes from dust. Send a text, bang on a pipe or wall, or use a whistle instead of shouting to help rescuers locate you.
  •       If you are in an area that may experience tsunamis, go inland or to higher ground immediately after the shaking stops.
  •       Be careful during the post-disaster cleanup of buildings and around debris. Do not attempt to remove heavy debris by yourself. Wear protective clothing, including a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, work gloves, and sturdy, thick-soled shoes during cleanup.
  •   Once you are safe, listen to local news reports for emergency information and instructions via battery-operated radio, TV, social media, or from cell phone text alerts.

 

Conclusion

Earthquake disasters are unpredictable; thus, you should be prepared at all times. Participate in activities that train you for earthquakes and other hazards as well. Keep an emergency kit with you always in your car or at your place. Be extra cautious and know every detail of your area: Frequency of earthquakes and how strong they can be.

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