One of the most frightening and destructive phenomena of nature is a severe earthquake and its terrible aftereffects. Earthquakes strike suddenly, violently and without warning at any time of the day or night. If an earthquake occurs in a populated area, it may cause many deaths and injuries and extensive property damage. Although there are no guarantees of safety during an earthquake, identifying potential hazards ahead of time and advance planning can save lives and significantly reduce injuries and property damage.
There are six ways to plan ahead for an earthquake:
1.Check for hazards in the home a. Secure shelves to the walls, place large/heavy objects on lower shelves, store breakable items in closed cabinets with latches b. Hang heavy items away from the bed, couch or anywhere people sit, brace overhead light fixtures c. Repair defective electrical wiring and leaky gas connections, secure water heater to the wall d. Repair deep cracks in the ceilings or the foundation 2.Identify safe places indoor and outdoors 3.Educate yourself and family members a. Have a family disaster plan, perform drills 4.Have disaster supplies on hand a. Flashlight and extra batteries, portable battery operated radio b. First aid kit and manual, emergency food and water c. Essential medications, cash and credit cards d. Sturdy shoes 5.Develop an emergency communication plan 6.Help your community get ready
During an earthquake you want to minimize your movements to a few steps to a nearby safe place and stay indoors until the shaking has stopped and you are sure exiting is safe.
If indoors –
*Drop to the ground and take cover *Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls and anything that could fall *Stay in bed if you are there. Hold on and protect your head with a pillow *Use a doorway for shelter only if it is in close proximity to you and you know it is a strongly, supported load bearing doorway *Stay inside until the shaking stops and it is safe to go outside *Do not use the elevators to exit the building
If outdoors –
*Stay there *Move away from buildings, streetlights and utility wires
If in a moving vehicle –
*Stop as quickly as possible and stay in the vehicle. Avoid stopping near or under buildings, trees, overpasses and utility wires *Proceed cautiously once the earthquake has stopped. Avoid roads, bridges or ramps that have been damaged by the earthquake.
After an earthquake expect aftershocks. These secondary shockwaves are usually less violent than the main earthquake.
Floods are one of the most common hazards in the United States. Not all floods are alike. Some develop slowly and some can occur within a matter of minutes. If a flood is likely in your area, 1) Listen to the radio or television for information. 2) Be aware that flash flooding can occur and move to higher ground. 3) Be aware of streams, drainage channels, canyons and other areas known to flood suddenly.
If you must evacuate, 1) Secure your home. Bring in outdoor furniture and move essential items to an upper floor. 2) Turn off utilities at the main switches or valves and disconnect electrical appliances. 3) Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you. 4) Do not drive in flooded areas. If water rises around the car, leave the car and go to higher ground. A foot of water will float many vehicles.
Returning Home After Disaster Strikes
Before you enter your home walk carefully around the outside and check for loose power lines, gas leaks and structural damage. If you have any doubts about safety, do not enter until the house has been inspected by a building inspector.
Do not enter the house if:
*You smell gas *Floodwaters remain around the building *Home was damaged by fire and the authorities have not declared it safe.
Once it has been deemed safe to enter your home, check for:
*The smell of natural gas *Broken or frayed wires *Cracks in the chimney, roof, foundations *Water and sewage systems *Food *Chemical spills
Recovering from a disaster is usually a gradual process. Safety is a primary issue.
Disaster Kits in a Bucket
Emergency management organizations encourage citizens to keep disaster supplies, emergency food and water on hand in case of flood, power outage, tornado or earthquake. All of the following items will fit into a five-gallon bucket. The items are: 1 roll of toilet paper, 1 camp stove, 2 cans of Sterno, 1 mess kit, 4 boxes of water proof matches, 6 books of regular matches, 12 paper plates, 6 each plastic forks, knives and spoons, 12 disposable drinking cups, 1 flashlight, 2 AD batteries, 2 emergency solar blankets, 12 hand/foot warmers, 6 heavy duty plastic bags, 12 hand sanitizer packets, 2 light sticks, 1 roll of duct tape, 1 pocket (utility) knife, 1 hand can opener, a two punch can opener, 2 combs, 1 tube toothpaste, 2 toothbrushes and 1 first aid kit. Items for the first aid kit: 6 pairs plastic gloves, an 8 oz bottle contact lens saline (to irrigate and clean wounds), 6 knuckle band-aids, 6 regular band-aids, 6 Telfa pads, 1 roll tape, 1 tube antibiotic
ointment, 3 burn gel packets, 6 wound wipes (Providone-Iodine), 2 stretch gauze, 2 instant ice compresses, 6 packets each of buffered aspirin and non-aspirin pain reliever, 1 each scissors and tweezers, a 4 oz bottle of Hydrogen Peroxide, and 6 sanitary napkins, which can be used to dress a large wound.
Keeping Food Safe During an Emergency
Did you know that a flood, fire, national disaster, or the loss of power from high winds, snow, or ice could jeopardize the safety of your food? Knowing how to determine if food is safe and how to keep food safe will help minimize the potential loss of food and reduce the risk of food borne illness. This fact sheet will help you make the right decisions for
in keeping your family safe during an emergency.
Always keep meat, poultry, fish, and eggs refrigerated at or below 41 °F and frozen food at or below 0 °F. This may be difficult when the power is out. Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature. The refrigerator will keep food safely cold for about 4 hours if it is unopened. A full freezer will hold the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed. Obtain dry or block ice to keep your refrigerator as cold as possible if the power is going to be out for a prolonged period of time. Fifty pounds of dry ice should hold an 18-cubic foot full freezer for 2 days. Plan ahead and know where dry ice and block ice can be purchased. Refer to Power Outage Guide for suggested holding times in times of power outages.
This information was provided by the following agencies and for additional planning and winter preparedness information, please refer to the following websites: