Earthquakes can strike suddenly at any time and without warning, causing serious damage to your home and fatal injuries to your family. Hence, the importance of ample disaster preparedness cannot be understated, as there’s no way to know when such a catastrophic event will occur.
Indeed, the last thing you want is to be caught off-guard when it happens. That’s why it’s crucial to start discussing your family earthquake preparedness plan before it’s too late. If you don’t know where to start, don’t worry. Read on for some pointers regarding what to do before, during, and after an earthquake:
What to Do BeforEe an Earthquake
Prepare an Earthquake Emergency Kit
Once the earthquake is over, you may lose access to food, water, power, and medicine for several days. Hence, it’s best to prepare a family earthquake kit to ensure your household’s survival. This should contain everything you need to stay self-sufficient, including but not limited to medical supplies, non-perishable food, a gallon of water per person, several flashlights and spare batteries, and blankets.
Inspect Your Home for Weaknesses
For your peace of mind, you’ll want to make sure your home is resistant to earthquake damage. You can start by looking for any weaknesses in your home’s structures, such as unreinforced masonry walls, weak crawl space walls, and unbraced pier-and-post foundations, to name a few. Once you’ve identified them, you can either correct them yourself or hire a professional to do it for you.
Secure Any Loose Furniture or Objects
During an earthquake, any unsecured items in your home become potential safety hazards. All the shaking could cause these objects to fall or break, causing serious injuries to your loved ones. That’s why you should take the time to secure or remove any and all loose belongings, including picture frames, hanging light fixtures, and vases, among others. Pay particular attention to pieces of furniture that are taller than they are wider, as they could topple over and trap people underneath them.
What to Do During an Earthquake
Don’t Leave the Room
Though your first instinct may be to run away, do not go to other rooms or run outside of your home. This is because the ground’s shaking may cause you to fall down and get hurt. Additionally, you may end up running into falling and flying objects, causing serious injury.
Do Not Stand Under a Doorway
Contrary to what some may believe, the doorway is not the best place to go during an earthquake, as it is not any stronger than other parts of your home. In fact, standing under one only puts you at risk of being struck by flying or falling objects. Thus, staying away from doorways is actually the safer course of action to take.
Drop, Cover, and Hold
Once you feel the ground shaking, immediately drop where you are onto your hands and knees. This position will keep you from getting knocked down to the floor while allowing you to crawl under a sturdy desk or table. Then, protect your head and neck by covering it with one arm, using the other arm to hold on to the leg of the table with one hand. If you’re unable to find any nearby shelter, cover your head and neck with both arms instead.
What to Do After an Earthquake
Check for Injuries and Administer First Aid
As soon as the shaking comes to a halt, check if your family members were hurt during the earthquake, and immediately administer first aid if necessary. In case of serious injuries, call for emergency medical assistance ASAP. Do not move the injured person unless they are in immediate danger, as this may cause more harm than good.
Check for Hazards and Control Them
The next thing you should do is check for any hazards that were caused by the earthquake. These may come in the form of small fires, broken water pipes, damaged and sparking electrical cables, and leaking gas pipes. Then, take immediate action to prevent these problems from worsening. By promptly addressing said hazards, you can prevent any further damage or injuries from occurring.
Be Prepared for Aftershocks
Just because the shaking has stopped doesn’t mean you can let your guard down. This is because you may still experience aftershocks after several hours, days, weeks, or even months from the initial earthquake. Should you experience any aftershocks, drop to the floor, look for cover, hold on to whatever stable structure you can, and wait until the ground stops shaking.
When it comes to your family’s survival, proper earthquake preparedness is vital. As long as you have a plan in place, you’ll dramatically increase the odds of getting through such an event relatively unscathed. Keep all of these tips in mind and you’ll already be one step closer to keeping your family safe from harm.