Earthquakes occur more frequently than you think. Some earthquakes are too weak to be felt, but are daily risks, nonetheless. If you do live in earthquake prone areas, preparation is key to survival, especially in the face of a strong quake.
Emergency provisions. You should keep an earthquake emergency kit, which includes bottled water, canned goods, fresh batteries, flashlights, fuel (for generators or oil heaters), matches, candles, some clothes, blankets, bedding and a well-stocked first aid kit with a whistle to signal for help. All of the above items can easily be bought at the nearest grocery, pharmacy and even a survival store. These supplies would also be good for other disasters, such as tornados and other extreme weather conditions.
Keep a small hand-powered radio. This helps you with information when other media channels are down. This is especially useful when the power goes out. You can keep battery-powered radios, but some can actually be charged by cranking a dial every 30 minutes or so.
During a quake. Once an earthquake strikes, stay under a strong and sturdy piece of furniture. A wooden table or a bed frame would do. You can also stay near door posts or wall pillars. This would help increase your chances of survival, should the roof and ceiling collapse. If you have a shelter or panic room, these might also prove useful in an earthquake. These should be tough enough to survive the pounding, but might get buried by debris of a collapsed house, so the best thing to do after a quake is to exit to the street as fast as possible.
Have a prepared and rehearsed evacuation plan. This involves a fast exit after a quake. Evacuate to the street when possible, keeping watch of power lines or trees that could fall. If you have kids, teach them the route, plans and location of supplies so they know what to do if you are injured or unavailable.
If you are in a vehicle. If you’re driving on the road, stop as quickly and carefully as possible, steering clear of power lines, utility poles and any other buildings that could collapse. Apply your parking brake and wait for the earthquake to stop, before attempting to move again.
If you suspect a long wait. If your home collapses, or if utilities get cut off, ration your food. Aftershocks can hinder rescue efforts, lengthening the time you might have to wait. If using candles or a gas stove indoors, make sure you have enough ventilation so you don’t get poisoned by carbon dioxide gases. Use flashlights as short as possible to make batteries last longer. If you have children, be sure to have toys or games with you in the shelter, to help pass the time. Keeping a positive outlook is important in times of disaster.
If you suspect strong aftershocks, evacuate to designated shelters, taking only bare essentials. With this information, you can be prepared for one of Mother Nature’s most powerful forces. Be Prepared, be safe and stay informed.