Get Prepared Before The Earthquake Strikes
One thing that we are fortunate enough to have in LA is good weather but one of the most dangerous occurrences that happens in Southern California is the threat of an earthquake. The last big one was in January 1994 in Northridge. Causing major catastrophe. Experts say we are way over due for another one. So I wanted to help you all get prepared with this article i found via Ideal home and Garden. I experienced one in 1999 and I was on the 22nd floor of a high rise - but fortunately the building was on rollers... nonetheless it was a scary experience.
Quakes happen frequently with little or no warning, causing devastating property damage and loss of life. But there are the steps you can take to make your home more secure in the event of an earthquake or other disaster. These simple steps can help reduce the damage to your home and danger to your family.
Identify the dangers zones in your home; How To Prepare For An Earthquake
- heavy furniture
- hanging mirrors
Tall pieces of furniture like china, large mirrors, and bookcases should be firmly anchored to the wall with screws and four inch steel "L" brackets or short steel cables made for this purpose.
Display or store breakable and heavy objects on lower shelves and install latches on cabinet doors.
Check all stoves, refrigerators and water heaters for flexible connections for gas and water. Water heaters and gas stoves present a significant danger from flammable gas and hot water. Make certain the water heater is secured to the nearest wall and complies with current building and safety codes.
Store all flammable or hazardous liquids in lower secured cabinets or outside the house in the garage:
- spray cans
- cleaning products
Develop a family disaster plan in case of an earthquake. If your family includes elderly members, handicapped members, or members with special medical needs, make provisions for this. Consider making identification cards for family members with any special instructions needed. Every family member should know the plan:
- where to go in an emergency
- who to contact
- where to meet.
Rehearse your plan often. Know the location of the nearest police station and hospital emergency room. Fire stations will probably be empty and locked for days following a major disaster.
Assemble a realistic emergency kit for the home and each of the family automobiles. Water is going to be your highest priority. The average adult needs two gallons of water daily for drinking and sanitation. Most "emergency kits" sold are regrettably short on water. Purchase gallon jugs for the home; they are easy to store and move as needed. Smaller 16-ounce bottles of drinking water are a better solution for automobile emergency kits. You can store a six-pack in a day pack and still be easily transportable.
Well-supplied emergency kits will include:
- enough water for a day to get back home
- food such as energy bars
- dried fruit
- or non-perishable package goods
- flashlight with extra batteries
- first aid kit
- whistle to signal for help
- dust mask
- space blanket with duct tape for an improvised shelter
- durable garden or work gloves
- sturdy shoes or hiking boots
- garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
- large wrench to turn off utilities
- hand operated can opener
- local maps
- cell phone with charger
- battery powered radio
Keeping Safe During An Earthquake
If you are indoors, stay there and take cover under a sturdy table or desk. Cover and protect your head. During earthquakes, light fixtures and falling objects present unexpected hazards to avoid. Inside corners of homes, buildings, or doorways in load-bearing walls are also safe spots. Avoid being near windows or large glass areas. Remain inside until the shaking stops. Do not use elevators during or after an earthquake.
If you are outdoors, remain there. Do not rush into buildings during or after an earthquake. Move away from buildings, streetlights, and utility wires. The greatest danger is directly outside buildings, at exits and close to exterior walls. Many earthquake-related injuries are the result of collapsing walls, flying glass and falling debris.
When you're in a moving automobile, stop as soon as possible and stay in the vehicle. Avoid areas near or under buildings, trees, overpasses and utility wires. After the shaking stops, proceed cautiously. Avoid roads, bridges, or freeway ramps that may have been damaged during the earthquake.
How To Survive If You Are Trapped During An Earthquake
If you are trapped under debris, do not light a match. There may be leaking gasoline or other dangers. Do not move about and kick up dust. Cover your mouth with a handkerchief or light clothing. If you are trapped in an underground structure such as a parking garage, tap on a pipe or wall so rescuers can locate you. Use your whistle if you can reach your emergency kit.
After An Earthquake
- Expect aftershocks. The secondary shock waves are frequently less violent the main earthquake, though they can still cause additional damage to structures weakened by the first. If there has been a major earthquake, listen for the latest emergency information on the radio.
- If you are in the home, open cabinets carefully. Watch for objects that can fall off shelves and cause injuries. Stay away from damaged structures. Remain in your home if it is safe. Stay off the roads unless your assistance has been requested by fire, police or relief workers.
- Check all utilities for damage. If you smell gas or hear a hissing sound, open a window and quickly leave the structure. Shut off the gas at the outside main gas meter, call the gas company. Look for electrical system damage such as sparks or broken wires. Turn off the electrical supply at the main circuit panel and call the utility immediately. Check for water line damage such as leaks or flooding. Turn off the water service at the main valve, which is usually at the front curb. Call and report any water main leak.
- Clean up spilled bleaches, gasoline or other flammable liquids immediately. Leave the area quickly if you smell gas or fumes from other chemicals.
- Realize that after a major quake or disaster, you may be on your own for the next 72 hours. Emergency personal are going to be very busy. But if you have assembled your emergency supplies, you are going to be able to survive this event.
Tips For Drastic Earthquake Scenarios
If the city water is still functioning, fill containers from the kitchen faucet or an outside faucet. Do not use a garden hose. Garden hoses are made with chemical laden plastics not approved for supplying drinkable water. Each toilet tank (not the toilet bowl) will provide 3-5 gallons of drinkable water. Siphon this into portable containers. If you suspect the city water is contaminated, boil the water for one minute and let cool, then add eight drops of household bleach per gallon of water. Let stand for 20 minutes before drinking.
If you need food, canned goods like beans are high in protean. Canned fruits and vegetables should be next on your list, then meat for protean. Try to avoid canned goods that are high in salt or dehydrated food that will quickly consume your water supply. Most canned goods have a shelf life of two years or more before losing nutritional value, color, and texture.
A proper sanitation plan is important to prevent disease. A short list of needed supplies includes:
- toilet paper
- liquid detergent
- feminine supplies
- personal hygiene items
- plastic garbage bags and ties (for personal sanitation uses)
- plastic bucket with tight lid (to store sanitation items)
- household chlorine bleach
There are dozens of emergency sanitation kits on the market that will supply most of these items in a convenient package.
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