How To Get Ready For An Earthquake – Part Two
In our last post, we began our discussion on the best ways to prepare for future quakes. As we said, we always tell our readers that the first step, is to make sure that you have your earthquake survival gear and know how to secure your home and personal safety when an earthquake strikes.
The second, is to make sure that you’re able to grab everything you need – necessities, keepsakes, vital information – and leave for a safe location, in less than ten minutes. This may sound impossible, but it’s a LOT easier than it sounds. All you need is to do is ensure you have access to all the items and information that will help you get back to living your normal life, as quickly and easily as possible.
The best way to physically prepare for earthquakes, is to think through the different scenarios that could take place. If a quake is large enough to have to “deal with” chances are, the electricity is going to go out. Telephone and/or cell service could also be down. In the Calexico earthquake, power lines fell, plunging the city into darkness. That means not only means you won’t have light, but you also won’t have power for computers or televisions and radios. Grocery and drug stores won’t be able to ring up purchases, ATMs won’t work, garage door openers might not function. Name any tool in this world and chances are it’s powered by electricity.
So your first defense is making sure that you always have an alternative source of power, battery powered flashlights, extra cash, a supply of canned or frozen food that doesn’t need to be cooked to be eaten, and the all important supply of water – enough to last you and everyone in your family for three days. Your home or neighborhood might be damaged. Broken glass and rocks will be strewn everywhere. Rubber-soled shoes, a warm jacket and other emergency gear should be easily reachable from your bed or right inside your closet. Since most earthquakes happen in the middle of the night — don’t ask me why — you really need to make your bedroom earthquake ready. We have an entire post on it here on the blog.
Here’s a video we created called “How To Make Your Money Accessible Whenever You Need It”, that gives you a simple formula you can use to estimate how much cash you would need to have in the house to get through an emergency.
There are literally hundreds of sources that can give you tremendous lists of what you should have on hand during an earthquake, including our web site. Even more will give you specific instructions on what to do before and after a quake – for example, how to turn off your gas line, or when to boil your water – so we won’t get into details like that. You should also create or update your evacuation checklist, detailing the items that you and your family would need if you were unable to live in your home for three or more days. This includes all of your necessities, prescriptions, vital documents (or access to them on portable hard drives, online or in out of area safe deposit boxes), keepsakes, personal and professional contacts, ID and basic medical history and anything else that your family will need while evacuated.
But I want you to think about something. Think about the last few earthquakes – or hurricanes for that matter. Think about the coverage you saw on CNN or the local news. Think about the faces of the people in the midst of the quake zone or the storm. They looked shell-shocked, terrified, lost. Most of those people, were at least moderately prepared for a disaster. Those in earthquake country most likely had stockpiled some food and water, those in hurricane country might even have evacuated and done everything their local news and emergency authorities told them to do. And yet, after the disaster, they were standing there, scared and helpless, because their homes, the people they loved, and basically their entire lives have been destroyed to the point that their own existence was now unrecognizable. All of those people, rich and poor, young and old — they all had one thing in common. They had NO idea where to go and what to do from here.
And THAT – knowing what to do and where to go after the disaster, is the next step. The most important step of all.
Continued in part three…
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