Residents of California were warned this week that a swarm of earthquakes near the Salton Sea could mean “The Big One” is near. Seismologists have said that California is long overdue for a major earthquake along the San Andreas Fault. Based on our reader feedback, we know that we have a large number of readers from the state of California, so we wanted to help you by giving you a rundown on what you should be doing for earthquake preparedness.
People who live in earthquake-prone areas must be aware of what they can do to prepare themselves, their families and their homes. While it can be worrisome for many, people may find themselves calmer about an earthquake if they’re prepared. For example, their homes will be as safe as possible, children will know where to go, and they can keep pets safe.
Prepare Your Home for an Earthquake
Many times, modern homes come already bolted to the foundation, making them as sturdy as possible. However, older homes may only be held in place by its own weight. Therefore, it may be best to purchase anchor bolts and earthquake brackets to keep the foundation and home from sliding or shaking.
It’s also important to secure bookshelves and appliances to the walls, and consider flexible water/gas lines to prevent leaks and ruptures.
Create An Earthquake Kit
Emergency kits are available for purchase from a lot of different stores. However, it is possible for people to create one on their own. People should consider gathering together a first aid kit, enough water and non-perishable food for a few days, hygiene and sanitation items, clothing, household documents, contact information, and tools.
Likewise, they should have a battery or hand-operated radio, comfort items (such as candy, coffee, snacks, and beverages), toys or games to keep occupied and more.
Along with these articles, people should consider having an extra pair of eyeglasses and enough prescription medication on hand. If they have young children, they may require diapers, formula, and other baby needs.
Household documents should include identification, bank information, and copies of insurance policies. It may also be helpful to have photographs of pets and family members, as well as enough cash or traveler’s checks to make it through in case the bank becomes damaged.
Tools should include work gloves, duct tape, pliers, wrench and/or screwdriver, among others depending on the home.
While nonperishable food is preferred, people will also need to consider utensils for eating, can openers, moist towelettes and one or more gallons of water for each individual in the home (as well as pets).
We go in-depth more in this article on Earthquake Preparedness.
What To Do With Pets
If people have pets, they should prepare them for an earthquake, as well. This includes having at least two week’s worth of water and pet food, which should be rotated and thrown away as it becomes expired. Likewise, they’ll want to have medication and prescriptions for their pets, as well as a muzzle for dogs, in case you must be rescued.
It may also be helpful to learn about pet CPR and first aid, microchips and keep ID tags current. Likewise, they should ensure their pet has all vaccinations and an up-to-date record.
How To Get Drinking Water
Sometimes, an earthquake is so bad that it takes weeks before rescuers can find and save everyone. If people are worried about not having enough water to drink safely, they can use water from the toilet tank (not the bowl), ice trays, pipes, and the hot-water tank.
However, it’s also important to keep up to date on broken sewage or water lines because if incoming water gets contaminated, people can get sick from drinking it.
To use the water in the home, turn on the highest-level faucet in the house. Only a small amount of water will come out, but then it is possible to get water from the lowest-level faucet.
To use the hot-water tank for water, turn the gas and/or electricity off. Someone should open the drain from the bottom of the tank and turn the water-intake valve on. At the same time, someone should turn a hot-water faucet on to remove the water. It’s important not to turn on the electricity or gas when the water tank is empty.
People may want to have water-cleaning tablets to ensure that the water is safe for drinking. Likewise, suspended particles should be allowed to fall to the bottom of the container first.
If you are looking for an excellent water filter, we highly recommend the Alexapure Pro.
Learn How To Shut Off Utilities
People are allowed to turn the gas off themselves during or after an earthquake. However, they cannot turn it back on themselves. It can be shut off from the shutoff valve, usually near or on the gas meter.
To turn the electricity off, find the main electric box. Those with circuit breakers can turn off the electrical switch while those with fuses must pull the small fuses and remove the one marked “main.”
Have more questions? Leave a comment and we’ll be happy to provide some input. Stay safe, and stay prepared!