The fact that forty five states and territories in the USA can experience earthquakes underscores the need for careful preparation. Despite the rapid improvements in technology, scientists have yet to devise a way to predict these destructive events. Safety lies in knowing what to do when an earthquake hits, and finding ways to strengthen the home. You should also have a plan in place in case you have to leave the home.
During an Earthquake
These events vary in severity, but knowing what to do can greatly improve your chances of survival. The entire family should be involved in earthquake drills so they will know exactly what to do when one occurs.
- Take cover under a strong desk or table, or stand in a doorway.
- Do not stand near mirrors or any other object such as hanging light fixtures that can fall and cause injury.
- If you are in bed, remain there and try to cover up with pillows.
- Do not go to the window or outside while the shaking continues.
In addition to regular drills, you should be able to respond immediately after this event. You should know how to turn off the water, gas and electricity. If you are cut off, or there are injuries to members of the household, you should not count on a quick response from emergency services. You should have a first aid kit on hand that includes bandages and pain medication.
More homeowners are beginning to understand the importance of setting up an earthquake kit. This is simply a collection of items that will help you to survive until things return to normal. This kit may also be necessary if you need to leave the home. This kit should include water and food, especially canned items. You should have extra clothes, a portable radio, cooking supplies, money and bathing and sanitation items. You should have fire extinguishers in the home, but there are small types available that you can carry if you need to leave the home.
Protecting the Home
Fires can occur after an earthquake when gas lines are damaged. Installing a seismic valve, also called an earthquake valve, is another way to protect the home and ensure your family’s safety. This device is installed between the utility company’s line and the home’s gas line. If there is damage to the main gas line, the seismic valve will immediately cut off the gas supply and prevent a fire.
Use these tips to help ensure your family’s safety in the event of an earthquake. Also, keep in mind that you may need to leave quickly if there is extensive damage.