AAA Offers 6 Tips on Earthquake Preparedness: ‘Drop, Cover … and Hold On’

With the strongest earthquake to hit Mexico in more than 100 years happening overnight, AAA is reminding Californians not to delay in preparing their own family’s earthquake and disaster plans.

“The Big One will happen in California — it’s just a matter of when,” said AAA Northern California spokesman Michael Blasky. “AAA wants to help you create a disaster preparedness plan for your family today, so you’ll know what to do if an earthquake hits tomorrow.”

Nearly 60 percent of Americans say they aren’t prepared for a natural disaster. AAA hopes to drastically reduce this number by helping one million people prepare for a natural disaster by creating engaging tools and plans for the public. Resources that can help you prepare for an earthquake are available through AAA’s Road to Ready game.

AAA Earthquake Safety Tips

– Create an earthquake survival kit. This is one of the most important steps you can take. The kit should include canned goods and can opener, two to four quarts of water per person per day, battery operated or hand crank radio, sanitary supplies, a camp stove, portable radio, flashlight and spare batteries, and tools to turn off utilities.

Know how to shut off your home’s gas, water and electricity. You should also make sure your water heater is securely fastened to a wall or post with two metal straps.

– Conduct family earthquake drills. Make sure everyone knows which areas in a room are the safest. This may be underneath a table or against a wall. Stay away from windows, fireplaces and tall furniture. And then, Drop, Cover and Hold On: find nearby shelter or use your arms and hands to protect your head and neck.

– Decide where your family will reunite if you’re separated. Choose a friend or relative you can call after an earthquake to let them know your location and condition. Phone lines are often overloaded or damaged in an earthquake and specifying one point of contact for your entire family will help avoid a strain on the system.

– Childproof your cabinet doors. It may seem like an annoyance initially, but installing latches on your cabinet doors can prevent them from flying open in an earthquake. By properly securing the doors you can keep precious belongings from spilling out and breaking.

– Check your insurance for earthquake coverage. Knowing what coverage you have can help speed up your recovery after a big quake. Most homeowners policies do NOT cover damage resulting from an earthquake, and in most cases a separate earthquake endorsement or policy is needed.