Hazards and calamities are unpredictable and cause loss of life and property. An earthquake is one such disaster that comes unannounced. According to the National Earthquake Information Center, around 20,000 earthquakes happen globally. Most of the earthquake-affected territories fall under moderate to high risk. Earthquakes can shake the ground so hard that buildings and bridges collapse. An earthquake can also cause landslides, fires, floods and tsunamis and disrupt phone, gas and electricity connections.
With a quake likelihood, individuals, families, and corporates should have disaster plans ready for implementation. You must also know about the seismic activity risk in your living premises and local emergency management facilities. Having a quake-disaster survival plan is one of the core necessities to avoid monumental loss. Here are seven ways to prepare yourself and your loved ones before, during, and after an earthquake.
Know the Earthquake Signs
Your home preparedness for an earthquake is one of the critical things to look into. During a quake, you may hear a rumbling sound gradually getting louder. You may also feel trembling on your ground and furniture items. Depending on the gravity of the earthquake, you may find it difficult to stand up and move confidently from one place to another.
Unusual changes in pet behavior, foreshocks (smaller quakes that lead up to the main earthquake), and sudden water level changes in wells also signal a looming earthquake. Keep a visually illustrated checklist or pictorial cards to prepare you for likely earthquake signs.
Check and Correct Hazard Points in Living Space
Earthquakes are unpredictable. Taking necessary precautions can save lives and property loss. Identify potential hazards in each room, such as windows, unanchored bookcases, furniture cabinets, falling objects, heating units, and other collapsing materials.
Find out the safe spots in each room of your office or home. It can be underneath a sturdy table kept away from walls or under a bed pillowcase. Check furniture and other moveable items placement in your residential or commercial setup and take corrective action to avoid flaring up to a disaster. Reinforce and retrofit your house if you are in a high-risk area—store fragile items like glass in bolted cabinets to prevent injury.
Keep Quake Disaster Supplies Handy
Put together an emergency kit for earthquake preparedness. Your kit should have first aid supplies, flashlights, camping supplies (like a battery-powered lantern), extra batteries, blankets, water, personal items (clothing, toiletries, medication), water purification tablets, a can opener, and non-perishable food. You should also keep heavy plastic waterproof bags for waste disposal.
Do not forget to put a fire extinguisher in an emergency kit to tackle any fire calamity. Keep extra food and packaged water for pets, copies of your documents, mobile chargers and power banks for your handset support, and a sturdy pair of shoes. Put your earthquake kit in a safe and easy-to-access place.
Practice Drop, Cover, Hold On
An earthquake can happen at seismic-prone places irrespective of the time and season. Consider reducing your movements to reach a safe place at the time of an earthquake. Stay indoors until the tremors have stopped and you find it safe to exit. If the earthquake tremors persist, drop to your hands and knees, cover your head and neck with your arms for your vital organs protection, and hold on to a sturdy table to shield your head from injuries.
If you are in bed, stay there for some time and cover your head with a pillow. If you are driving when the tremors start, stop your vehicle as quickly as possible, and stay in the car.
Alert your Community to Tremors
Sensitize your community – to brave quake tremors by following essential steps. Conduct people’s educative series on weekends on identifying quake hazards at home and outdoors. Work together in your neighborhood and community to facilitate earthquake hazards identification. Tie up with water, electricity, and gas company representatives about shutting off utilities during tremors.
Make chat groups – providing tips on conducting earthquake drills at home. Work with American Red Cross officials to prepare special reports for mobility-impaired citizens on what to do during a quake. Publish emergency information on earthquakes in local newspapers by printing the contact details of local emergency offices, hospitals, and care providers.
Take Post-Quake Precautions
An earthquake leads to the loss of lives and material goods. Foremost, check your body for any harm and injuries. Wear protective clothing like sturdy boots, full-length pants, a long-sleeved shirt, and gloves to protect yourself from danger. Call 911 to offer first-aid when necessary. Help trapped and injured people reach a safe location.
Help extinguish post-earthquake fires wherever possible. Wait for a professional to turn the gas line off. Evacuate everyone if you feel the building premises aren’t safe. Get kids, pets, and the elderly moved to a secure location immediately. Also, stay away from damaged structures until you get clearances from the authorities.
Buy Earthquake Insurance Cover
Whether you are a homeowner or a working professional, find the best choices in earthquake insurance. Typical home insurance policies don’t include earthquake cover. Hence, it is essential to look for the right insurance company to help cover quake damages.
Do your homework to find an affordable and flexible home earthquake policy that offers coverage choices, protects your home investment, and provides peace of mind when a powerful tremor happens. Get an earthquake insurance estimate for in-depth evaluation before formalizing it. Check the insurance provider’s financials, reputation, and A+ rating to protect your properties from earthquake damage.
The Bottom Line
Before buying a house or property in a new place, find out the seismic rating to protect yourself and your family from the wrath of potential earthquakes. Zone 5 consists of areas most susceptible to quakes of high intensity.
Inspect the house’s structure, and find out if it is made from quake-resistant material before proceeding. Consult an architect/engineer who has designed the system and demand a compliance certificate. Remember that you are responsible for your safety. Be aware and better prepared for future tremors.