According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), close to 60% of Americans have not practiced what to do if a natural disaster occurs. If you haven’t developed an emergency plan or discussed it with members of your household, you are not alone: Fewer than 40% of Americans have done so.
According to the California Department of Conservation, the state averages three earthquakes a year that are over 5.5 in magnitude. Help your family prepare for an earthquake with these tips:
Prepare Your Home
Check your home’s foundation and crawl spaces for weakness or damage (which could lead to collapse) and make repairs a top priority. Secure large, heavy objects — bookcases, china cabinets, televisions, etc. — to walls to prevent possible injury. Place heavier objects, such as appliances, on lower shelves in closed cabinets.
Make Earthquake Kits
Your earthquake kits should include the following:
- Bottled water
- Non-perishable foods (granola bars, canned beans, tuna, etc.)
- First aid kit
- Radio (battery-operated or hand-cranked)
Create an Action Plan and Practice It
Create an action plan for the whole family to practice so they will know exactly what to do during an earthquake. Discuss safe spots in your home, such as desks/ tables to take cover under, and where earthquake kits are located.
Practice “Drop, Cover and Hold On.” If an earthquake occurs, immediately drop to your knees and get low to the ground. Cover your head with your arms and get under a sturdy desk/table if there is one nearby. Hold on to the desk/table with one hand and cover your head with the other until the shaking stops.
Practice post-earthquake actions, such as checking for broken glass or other items that can be dangerous to walk on, and inspect your water, electric and gas lines for any damage. If you smell gas after an earthquake, open the windows and doors, evacuate your home and call the local authorities to alert them of a possible gas leak.
Practicing how to respond to an earthquake can prepare both adults and children to respond safely and without panic if a real earthquake occurs.