Earthquakes are common occurrences in California due to hundreds of active faults that run through the state. The most active fault in Southern California is the San Jacinto Fault which has caused several large earthquakes in recent history. Although most earthquakes are so small that we don’t even feel them, its always a good idea to be prepared for the next big one to hit. So in honor of Disaster Preparedness Month, I would like to share some information with you about how to prepare your family for an earthquake.
Creating a Plan
- Put together your Disaster Supply Kit with at least a 3-day supply of food, water, clothes, medical supplies, and other necessities for everyone in your family. Click Here for a printable list from California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services.
- Decide on a place where you can reunite with your family in the event that you’re apart during the earthquake.
- Pick a trusted person who does not live in the immediate area to contact if family members are separated. It’s likely that local phone services will be busy so having a contact person outside the state is a good idea.
- Know your children’s school procedures for earthquakes. Make sure you have a backup person to pick them up if you cannot get to them quickly.
- Prepare an emergency card for any family members with special needs, such as medications or allergies, which should be in their possession at all times.
- Plan earthquake drills every six months with your family.
- Everyone should know the safest place in each room because it will be hard to move around during an earthquake.
- Learn how to shut off the valves for water, gas, and electricity.
- Make copies of important records & documents and keep them in a safety deposit box in another city or state. Store originals in a safe place.
- Establish all the possible ways to exit your house and keep those areas clear.
- Take photos & videos of all valuables and make copies that are stored in a safe place.
- Include your babysitter and other family members in your plans.
- Keep an extra pair of eyeglasses, house keys, & car keys.
- Have extra cash & change in the house in case the electricity is out and you can’t access the ATM.
General Safety Tips
- Tether all heavy furniture to studs, especially entertainment centers, TVs, dressers, & bookshelves. This should be done if you have children anyways.
- Be aware of what objects you place above your bed or sitting areas since it will probably knock you out in the event of a large quake. It’s probably a good idea to invest in earthquake putty to keep glass vases or other decorations from falling off shelves.
- Keep hallways clear since they are usually the safest place to be during earthquakes.
- Stay away from kitchens and garages during an earthquake. They tend to be the most dangerous place to be.
You can never be too prepared for a major earthquake to strike. As the wise man says…It’s always best to hope for the best but prepare for the worst. For more information, please visit the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services.