Earthquake Series Part 1: Are You Ready for a Big Earthquake?

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Earthquakes are unpredictable. However, being prepared for one can save you from significant loss of life and property. Here are a few ways in which you can protect yourself and your family from potential injuries in the event of an earthquake.

1. Strengthen Your Building

Ensure your home and any building that you use are safe during earthquakes and resistant to damage. Get professionals to assess the structure of the building and then install nonstructural solutions such as reinforced chimneys, cripple wall bracing, and foundation bolting.  If you have a mobile home, consider fitting an earthquake-resistant bracing system. These steps can limit extensive damage to your building. If you are a renter, ask your property manager or landlord to make safety-enhancing improvements.  Structures that are particularly vulnerable to earthquake damage include those that are unanchored to the foundation, those with feeble crawl space walls, those with unsupported pier-and-post foundations, and those with unreinforced foundations or masonry walls.

2. Assemble Emergency Supplies

Take time to assemble the emergency supplies you’ll need in case there is no water, the power is out, and the grocery stores are closed. You can gather your emergency supplies gradually as your financial resources permit. Your supplies checklist should include:

  1. Water – Ensure you have no less than a gallon for everyone in your household for three days.
  2. Food – Ensure you have a store of non-perishable food for your family members and pets that can last for at least three days.
  3. Cell charger, radio, and flashlight – You should be able to charge them without electricity. So your flashlight, radio, and cell charger should be battery-powered, solar-powered, or hand-cranked.
  4. Medical – Include medications, medical supplies, and a first aid kit.
  5. Sanitation – Pack sanitation supplies, such as paper products, towels, and plastic bags, that can be used if the supply of water is limited.
  6. Assistive technology – Include backup batteries to power your assistive technology needs, such as mobility devices and oxygen.
  7. Clothing and blankets
  8. Whistle – Have a whistle that can be used to call for help.
  9. Cash – Have some cash because ATMs may be out of service after the earthquake.
  10. Fire extinguisher – Earthquakes can trigger fires, so you should have a fire extinguisher.

How to Protect Yourself During an Earthquake

Take Cover

During an earthquake, the safest thing to do is to drop to your knees and hands and then find cover. Things may start falling; therefore, you should get under a sturdy desk or table. Then, hold onto the table or desk’s leg to maintain stability. If you’re not close to a desk or table, your next safest location is an interior wall that’s away from the windows. Contrary to common myth, no science backs up getting under a doorway. Door frames aren’t sturdier than other sections of your home and, while taking cover at the doorway, you may be exposed to the falling debris. Consider all the areas when you spend a lot of time and then think of where you can take cover if an earthquake strikes.

Monitor for Gas Leaks

As the earth shakes, so will your gas lines, furnace, and water heater. A crack can send the natural gas pouring into the house, and just one spark can set your home on fire. Therefore, you should install an emergency gas shut-off valve that can automatically shut off the gas in case of a large quake.

Purchase Earthquake Insurance

Most importantly, you need an earthquake insurance policy that can adequately protect your home in the event of an earthquake. Contact Hoffman Brown Company to get started on your customized policy today!