A powerful earthquake near Eureka, California is bringing an important reminder that preparation is key to recovering from disasters.
A 6.9-magnitude earthquake occurred just 50 miles off the cost of Eureka, shaking hundreds of North Coast residents at around 10:18 p.m. Sunday, March 10th, 2014, according the United States Geological Survey.
According to the Hum bolt County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services, there were no report of damages, or injuries.
The quake was followed by several aftershocks clustered off the coast of Ferndale, ranging from 2.7 to 4.6. Magnitude.
This wakeup call has asking the question, “Are you prepared for an earthquake?”
As a California resident, one would believe we all are; however, many of us don’t have the necessary plans in place for a disastrous event.
The tips below can help you minimize the impact of an earl quake hazard on your family’s health and home.
Before an Earthquake: The following are things you can do to protect yourself, your family and your property in the event of an earthquake.
- To begin preparing, you should build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan. You may need to survive on your own after an emergency. This means having your own food, water and other supplies in sufficient quantity to last for 72 hours. To view a sample list of items needed for your kit, visit this link for more information on your emergency kit.
- Fasten shelves securely to walls.
- Place large or heavy objects on lower shelves.
- Store breakable items such as bottled foods, glass, and china in low, closed cabinets with latches.
- Fasten heavy items such as pictures and mirrors securely to walls and away from beds, couches and anywhere people sit.
- Brace overhead light fixtures and top heavy objects.
- Repair defective electrical wiring and leaky gas connections. These are potential fire risks. Get appropriate professional help. Do not work with gas or electrical lines yourself.
- Install flexible pipe fittings to avoid gas or water leaks. Flexible fittings are more resistant to breakage.
- Secure your water heater, refrigerator, furnace and gas appliances by strapping them to the wall studs and bolting to the floor. If recommended by your gas company, have an automatic gas shut-off valve installed that is triggered by strong vibrations.
- Repair any deep cracks in ceilings or foundations. Get expert advice if there are signs of structural defects.
- Be sure the residence is firmly anchored to its foundation.
- Store weed killers, pesticides, and flammable products securely in closed cabinets with latches and on bottom shelves.
Stay Safe: To increase your likelihood of surviving any size earthquake, Drop, Cover and Hold under a desk or table within the first 3—4 seconds of shaking. Stay there until the shaking stops. If you are in a place without a table your goal is that your head is not the tallest thing in the room. Start by getting low. If there is no table around you, think “Beneath, beside, between”!
- Getting BENEATH any desk or table is always your best option.
- Sit BESIDE an inside wall or Get low and BESIDE heavy furniture.
- Crouch low BETWEEN the rows of chairs in a movie theater, church or stadium. Get low BESIDE AND BENEATH the level of a grocery cart in the supermarket.
What if I’m…
- In a car? You’ll naturally do the right thing because it will feel like a flat tire. Slow down, pull over and stop. Stay in the car. If you are driving on a bridge or overpass, slow down, but continue driving if possible. When out of that situation, pull over and stop. If you can’t drive out of the situation, at least stay in the car.
- Outside? If outside and in an open area, sit down and cover your head with your arm. Immediately outside of a building is called the “danger zone”. If you are immediately outside of building, move into the building and find a quake-safe safe place.
- In bed? Beds are relatively safe places to be in an earthquake, especially if you don’t hang pictures on the wall at the head of your bed. Stay in bed, cover your head with the covers. If there is significant risk of items falling on you; simply roll off the bed, lying close to the bed frame and floor, covering your head with a blanket.
- Upstairs vs downstairs? Either is safe. Find a quake-safe place where you are and avoid running during the shaking.
- Myth Buster! Doorways are NOT a recommended safe place to be in an earthquake. It’s difficult to stay in the doorway during the shaking and the door often causes injury then it swings open and closed during the shaking.
Create a Home Inventory: A home inventory is an excellent way to expedite the insurance claims process after a natural disaster. Create a comprehensive home inventory list of your belongings, and should include an item description (make, model, serial number, etc.) value, and purchase date. With your list you should also take photos or video of your belongings. The record will provide you with a record of your insurable assets and will help in the settlement of a covered loss or claim. The document will also help you determine the right amount of insurance coverage you need. Remember to keep your home inventory safe, keep a copy in a bank safety deposit box, or in a secure location away from your home.
Business owners should also remember that their businesses can be severely impacted by disasters. Businesses are the economic engine of our communities and play an important part of the recovery process. Business owners should consider how they will prepare for and respond to a disaster in their community.