Earthquakes happen with no notice and can strike almost anywhere in the world. However certain areas, like Alaska and the West coast, are more prone to them. If you just moved to an area that is in an earthquake zone, you need to know how to prepare for an earthquake. Here are some tips to help you prepare for “the big one.”
I felt the house move
I have honestly never been more scared than when I was on the second floor of our house with two little children and I felt the house move. I knew I could have mere seconds to get us downstairs and under a door frame or outside. I couldn’t move fast enough. We were living in Alaska and I knew we lived in an earthquake prone area, so I knew what to do, but I will never forget that feeling in the pit of my stomach when the house shook.
Get somewhere sturdy
Earthquake drill advice is to get under something, in a door frame or go outside. Earthquake drills are quick and easy to do and should be done often in all different locations so that your whole family can quickly evaluate where the closest safe spot is to them. It doesn’t take but mere moments for things to start falling apart when the earth moves. Young children can be taught the importance of running to their parents in emergency situations. Use a certain phrase that catches their attention to have them come to you so you can get them to safety.
Know where to turn off gas
Almost as important as being somewhere safe is knowing how to turn off the gas line at your home if you have one. Gas explosions can occur because of earthquakes, which can break gas lines. Know where the gas shutoff valve is and have the right tool somewhere outside to use to turn it off. It’s good to know how to turn off your electricity and water, too, until after you inspect all the damage in the area.
Have a bag located where you can get it
Bug-out bags for earthquake locations have to be placed somewhere that can be easily accessed if a house collapses on it. Garages with no rooms on top of them or sheds may be the easiest places to dig into to find a bug-out bag. If your home is severely damaged, there is a good chance your vehicle may be, too, along with local roads. Plan on walking to wherever you need to go or plan to camp out in your backyard. Have a couple locations in mind since the earthquake damage will be unpredictable.
It’s usually not a one-time event
Remember that there will probably be aftershocks, which could lead to more damage. Earthquakes can also trigger landslides, avalanches and volcanic eruptions (or vice versa on that one). Each of these events has its own preparation list. Duct tape and plastic tarps are key to have on hand for volcanic eruptions. Try to imagine keeping ash out of a house damaged by an earthquake. What other supplies and tools might you need? And, where would you go if your home was no longer a safe place to stay?
It can strike when you’re not at home
You may be at work and need to walk home. You may have to gather family members from school or friends’ houses. You may be stranded on the one highway that leads anywhere because it is damaged. Have enough emergency gear in your vehicle to prepare you for these scenarios. If you live near a volcano, consider having air masks for people and air filters for your car – a vehicle can only drive so far if it’s sucking up ash.
I hope you never feel the earth move under your feet, but if you live in an area where it could happen, please take the time to be prepared. A little bit of thinking and planning will pay off if “the big one” ever hits.
Do you live in an earthquake-prone area? What have you done to prepare for “the big one?”
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