Personal Earthquake Preparedness

By Michael Patino on 2012-11-20 20:25:32 -

How do we prepare for earthquakes?

The First Step is to make sure that you have your earthquake survival gear and know how to secure your home and personal safety when an earthquake strikes.

The Second Step is to make sure that you’re able to grab everything you need – necessities, keepsakes, vital information – and leave for a safer location, in less than ten minutes. It’s a lot easier than it sounds. All you need is to do is to take the necessary steps now, to ensure you have access to all the items and information that will help you get back to living your normal life, as quickly and easily as possible. You'll also want to make sure that the things that are most vital to you -- your important papers, financial and insurance information, treasured photos, videos and music and scannable keepsakes are backed up onto a portable hard drive and stored in a safe deposit box or safe, in the town where you will go during evacuation. That way it will be safe, sound and waiting for you when you arrive.

The Third Step is to make sure that you have a pre-written plan of what you’ll do and where you’ll go when a disaster strikes, including a plan for how you’ll get back to your normal life, once the disaster is over.

The best way to physically prepare for earthquakes, is to think through the different scenarios that could take place. If a quake is large enough to have to “deal with,” chances are the electricity is going to go out. Telephone and/or cell service could also be down. In Japan, Haiti and Calexico, power lines fell, plunging the city into darkness. That means not only means you won’t have light, but you also won’t have power for computers or televisions and radios. Grocery and drug stores won’t be able to ring up purchases, ATMs won’t work, garage door openers might not function. Name any tool or convenience we rely on in this world and chances are it’s powered by electricity.

So your first defense is making sure that you always have an alternative source of power, battery powered flashlights, extra cash, a supply of canned or frozen food that doesn’t need to be cooked to be eaten, and the all-important supply of water – enough to last you and everyone in your family for three days. Since your home or neighborhood might have significant damage, keep rubber-soled shoes, a warm jacket and other emergency gear within reach of your bed or right inside your closet. Rubber soled shoes will protect your feet from the broken glass and rocks that will probably be strewn everywhere.

We aren’t going to get into the details of how to turn off your gas, when to boil water or a list of items to have on hand for an earthquake, because there are literally hundreds of sources for that information. In fact here are a few of our favorite guides and videos:

You should also create or update your evacuation checklist, detailing the items that you and your family would need if you were unable to live in your home for three or more days. This includes all of your necessities, prescriptions, vital documents (or access to them on portable hard drives, online or in out of area safe deposit boxes), keepsakes, personal and professional contacts, ID and basic medical history and anything else that your family will need while evacuated.

Having two plans can make all the difference in getting you through those first few days and weeks after a disaster strikes.

The evacuation plan is pretty simple. It all comes from one question… If you were at home or at work and suddenly had to evacuate your home, or your general area, where would you go?

As you think about the locations you’ll use for your evacuation, consider, the people traveling with you, how you’ll get there (car, bus, plane), any pets traveling with you and whether those locations will actually work for you – for instance are they close to stores or services your family might need, like pharmacies, clothing, banks and doctors.

We suggest that people have three different locations in mind, to give you different types of locations and choices depending on the circumstances. As you create your plan, write everything down in detail. If you have to use this plan, you and the people you love are probably going to be in panic mode and following an easy to understand plan, will help calm and focus you.

Write down the people who will be traveling with you, and any special instructions you’ll need to gather everyone together, in case a disaster or emergency occurs while you’re all away from home. Name the location that you and your family will use to meet up with each other and the location you will be evacuating to, if you cannot live in your home, but your immediate area is still safe. Include the address of the location, contact phone, email address and directions.

Next choose a location (writing down the details, address and contact information) that your family will use if you not only need to evacuate your home, but your immediate area or city. This might happen during a moderate hurricane or a tornado. Your third location is out of state, for a serious, widely destructive emergency like the Japan or Chile Earthquake, Hurricane Katrina, the Colorado Wildfires, or other disaster that will make your entire region uninhabitable.

You will also include these locations on your emergency wallet card and your family’s wallet cards. Now, no matter what the disaster, even a fire or local emergency, you and your family will now know where and how to gather, and who will be responsible for what, so you can quickly reunite and travel on to your emergency location together. If you like, you can also give a card to the person you chose to be your out-of-area contact as well.

Will you have any pets traveling with you? Be sure to fill out the pet section, so that you will have all the information you need for them, like the name and numbers for the veterinarian, their licenses, and names/numbers of kennels in the location you are evacuating to and any prescriptions or special instructions you’ll need until you return home.


Take a few minutes to think about the following questions:

    How will we handle our bank accounts, paying our monthly bills and receiving our paychecks? How much emergency cash do we need to have, while traveling?
    What are our credit card limits and toll free numbers for emergency increases?
    How will we work? Will we work remotely or have to look for new positions? What people or contacts can we call about temporary or permanent jobs?
    How will we handle our medical, dental and prescription needs while in the new location? What doctors and dentists can we use while there?
    How long can we stay in our evacuation location? If we need to remain evacuated longer, where will we go/stay? Who will our real estate contacts be, if we need to find new permanent or temporary housing?
    How are we going to secure the property or vehicles we had to leave behind?
    How will we take care of our pets, during the evacuation and until we find new permanent housing?
    How will we handle our transportation needs? What contacts will we need to purchase or lease vehicles?
    How will we handle our daycare needs? How will we handle getting our children into school if necessary? What schools or contacts will we need, to enroll them in a new school in a temporary or new location?
    How will we handle any special needs in our family?

Quoted from http://www.nokep.org/earthquake.htm?gclid=CKzF-9T_3rMCFQhyQgodgmgA2w 

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