Did you know that Earth consists of 20 plates that are constantly moving? When too much pressure builds up underneath these plates due to their shifting it causes the Earth’s crust to break. When the crust breaks stress is released in the form of energy. We feel this energy as waves. We call these waves an earthquake. The National Earthquake Information Center (NEIC) records an average of 20,000 earthquakes every year around the world. This computes out to about 50 earthquakes a day! It’s important to note that these are only the recorded quakes – there are probably millions occurring each year that are just too weak to be recorded.
We usually think that shaking is the cause of most human deaths, however, this is not the case. The shaking leads to destruction of man-made structures such as buildings, homes, bridges etc. The destruction of these things are what actually causes injury and death. In addition, the shaking from earthquakes can also be an instigator for other natural disasters such as landslides, avalanches, and tsunamis. This is why it is so important to have a plan in place if you live somewhere that earthquakes are prevalent. There are numerous suggestions as to how to prepare for an earthquake ahead of time and what to do during a quake to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.
Having a designated plan ahead of time is vital. You can not begin planning when disaster strikes, you must be prepared in advance. Here are some quick and easy suggestions to help you prep if you know an earthquake may occur. In addition, many of these items can be done as a precaution.
- If you live in an earthquake zone you may want to fasten large objects to the walls (bookshelves, TV stands etc). In addition, be mindful not to place extremely heavy objects on the tops of shelving units.
- You will also want to store breakable items on lower levels of shelving preferably in a closed cabinet.
- When choosing where to hang wall decor be mindful of leaving ample space between hanging decor, mirrors, or lighting fixtures, and anywhere a person may sit. Do not place a picture frame or mirror directly next to or above a couch, bed, or chair. This allows for enough space if it is to fall during a quake.
- If you live in an area that is prone to earthquakes you will want to be sure you have fixed any electrical wiring or gas connections that may be faulty. If these are not fixed and you have an earthquake they are more likely to lead to an explosion or a fire.
- You will also want to repair any existing cracks in the walls or foundation of your residence. Again, earthquakes can magnify these and can cause the structure to crumble.
- One of the most important things you will want to do ahead of time is identify a safe place in each room. Depending on where you are in your home you will want to know where you can go to be away from danger. Find a place that is under a sturdy piece of furniture, against an inside wall, and away from any windows or other glass.
- In addition to identifying numerous places inside your home you will also want to prepare in case you are outside during a quake. Stay away from trees, electrical lines, bridges, and any other large structures.
- In case you are not home during a quake but your loved ones are you’ll want to be sure that they all know how to turn off the gas, electricity, and water. Be sure to teach this ahead of time.
- You should also teach any children in the household how to get a hold of you and law enforcement in case of an emergency. It’s important that any elderly and children in the household know the appropriate communication plan in cause of an earthquake. Who will they call? Where should they go if no one is home?
- If you have family pets you’ll need to devise a plan for them as well. Dogs should be leashed and kept with you. They can also be kept in a fenced in yard so the don’t get frightened and run off. Animals often become anxious and even aggressive during a stressful time like this. Be aware if the behavior of your animal changes. Try to keep them calm if you can.
- Maybe the most important thing to prep ahead of time is having a disaster kit ready. Your kit should include supplies that you and your family may need in cause of an emergency. If the quake is bad enough you may not have access to electricity, water, or your belongings for quite some time. This is why you will need to have several items on hand. Water bottles, non-perishable food, batteries, additional clothing and shoes, and a first-aid kit. Here is a much longer list of items you may want to have in case of an emergency.
I hope you never find yourself in the midst of an earthquake but if you do you’ll be glad that you planned ahead. There are things you can do during an earthquake that can keep you safe while the earth shakes.
- You will want to go to your designated safe space in whatever room you are in when the earthquake begins. As previously stated, be sure you are away from any windows or glass that may break. Find a sturdy piece of furniture to hide underneath in case things fall or move around. Your best bet is to be near an inside wall. If you are inside don’t try to leave! Staying where you are will ensure that you are safe. Trying to flee or leave can lead to far more injuries.
- If you are outside you will want to get far away from electrical poles, large structures, or street lights. Find a place to stand or sit that is out in the open and stay there until the shaking subsides. Be mindful that there will most likely be aftershocks. Stay in a clear space until you are sure you are no longer in danger.
- If you happen to be driving when an earthquakes occurs stop as quickly as possible. When you stop your vehicle be sure, again, that you are in an open area away from buildings, electrical lines, and lights. Stay inside your vehicle. Once the shaking has stopped you should proceed with caution as bridges, tunnels, or roads may have been damaged in the earthquake.
- If you have pets you should be aware that their behavior often changes right before and during a quake. They may becomes anxious, afraid, or even aggressive. Try to keep them as calm as you can while keeping them leashed or in a confined area.
You may not think that these types of scenarios could ever happen to you, but it’s better to be prepared than not have any plan at all. These quick prepping tips can make sure you and your loved ones stay safe in you are ever faced with an earthquake.