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Earthquakes are natural disasters that often occur unexpectedly.

However, advanced technology and tools today can predict an earthquake.

Experts in earthquake-prone areas are keen to educate residents in a bid to let them know what to do in an earthquake. 

How do Earthquakes Occur?

Earthquakes occur when reserved energy overwhelms friction and triggers movement and disintegration in the rock masses below the Earth’s surface.

The force that causes movement in the rocks is called plate tectonics. 

How to Prepare for an Earthquake: Formulating an Earthquake Preparedness Emergency Plan

If you live in an earthquake-prone area, you need to be on the lookout for earthquake alerts.

This will ease your earthquake preparedness efforts.

You need to prepare your emergency plan and go through it regularly to ensure that everything is in the right place.

Understanding what to do in case of an earthquake is one of the most important parts of your earthquake plan.

Your plan should help you and your loved ones understand:

Know Where to Take Cover

The following are ideal places within your home or place of work to take cover.

These could include:

  • Under strong tables or desks
    • Note: should you opt to hide under tables and desks, ensure they’re well bolted down for enhanced safety.
  • Robust door frames within your building (these can be ideal coverage areas)
    • Note: Avoid external windows, walls, mirrors, and huge furniture that’s not bolted down.
  • If there are no ideal places to take cover within your building, the best way to protect yourself is by lying on the floor beside an interior wall.

Earthquake example

Practice Your Plan

Conduct a drill in your house just to ensure everybody understands what to do in an earthquake.

Whether there has been a prediction or not, earthquakes can happen suddenly and you want everybody to master what they should or shouldn’t do. 

How to Signal or Call for Help

Ensure that everybody in your household understands how to call or signal for help if they are trapped inside buildings.

Remember, rescuers searching for earthquake survival victims will listen for any sounds to figure out whether someone needs to be rescued.

Ensure that your red cross earthquake preparedness kit has various whistles which you can blow fervently until rescuers get to you.

You can also try knocking things or even shouting where possible. 

Master the Drop Cover and Hold on Technique

The drop, cover, and hold on is one of the most important techniques to master when preparing for earthquake.

Practice this until everybody in your house becomes familiar with it.

This technique can come in handy to protect you in case of an emergency earthquake.

All you will need to do is: drop down on the floor, hide under robust desks preferably those that have been bolted, and hold on to them tightly.

Still, you’ll need to be ready for trembling and falling objects.

Practice these safety measures in all the rooms in your house so that you know what to do regardless of where you are in the event an earthquake strikes. 

What if an Earthquake Strikes when You’re Outside?

Wondering “what should I do during earthquake when I’m outside?”

You’ll need to identify an open space far off from anything such as tall buildings, trees, or poles that could collapse or fall.

Drop down and cover your head to safeguard it from possible falling objects.

Remain in the same position until the trembling subsides. 

Get Basic CPR and First Aid Lessons

Enroll in a basic first aid class and ensure that at least someone in your home can execute first aid appropriately in the event of an emergency.

Apart from having a Red Cross emergency kit, make sure that your whole family understands the necessary measures to take in case of emergencies.

If you live in an earthquake disaster-prone area, chances are that the local Red Cross offices have classes where they teach basic lessons on how to handle common injuries. 

Have a Means of Contacting Your Relatives in Different Regions

Having contacts of your relatives in various regions, states, or even countries is critical especially during and after a disaster.

In the unfortunate event that you’re unable to communicate with your closest relatives, you can always contact your far off relatives to alert them and have them circulate information about the disaster and get help for you fast.

Remember, telephone lines become congested during disasters and you need to have a reliable way of getting in touch with your relatives regardless. 

Designate an Emergency Meeting Point

Have a designated meeting point far from buildings where you and the other members of the family should meet once the earthquake is over.

Discuss the possible measures members should take if one of you is missing.

Assuming that there are civil defense rallying areas within your local area, ensure every member of your family is communicating with them. 

Switch Off Utilities Within Your Home

Due to the trembling and disintegration that occurs during an earthquake, some of the utilities in your home are likely to break down.

Make sure everybody in your home knows how to switch off various utilities in your home more so the gas line.

Remember, a broken gas line results in gas leakage in your home which can cause a fire or an explosion if action isn’t taken early to correct the potential hazard.

By knowing where the main gas switch is, you can easily turn it off and avoid a hazardous situation.

Have Emergency Contacts at Your Fingertips

Write down or make print-outs of emergency contact numbers and pin them in different areas within your home.

Include contact numbers of everybody in your office or home, emergency response organizations, and your relatives.

If you are preparing an earthquake plan for your office, ask every employee to provide at least two emergency contacts which you can get in touch within the event of an earthquake.

It’s important to know everybody within the building who should be accounted for when disaster strikes.

Ensure the contact list includes: names and contact numbers of the landlord, neighbors, and emergency numbers for the police, medical and fire personnel, and insurance. 

Lay Down Ways and Routes to Access Your Home after an Earthquake

Seeing that you can’t predict the time or day when an earthquake can occur, you and your entire family should understand how best they can access the house following a disaster.

It’s worth noting that should an earthquake occur when you’re at work, school, in a train, or a bus, chances are high that there’ll be prolonged traffic and some roads could be rendered impassable.

For this reason, each member should at least have an alternative way of reaching home. You’ll need to master possible risky structures along the way just to be safe. 

How to Prepare Your Earthquake Preparedness Emergency Kit

If an earthquake security alert has been circulated, you need to start arranging your earthquake preparedness kit early in advance.

Ensure the people in your house or office know where to access it with ease.

It’s worth noting that people can be trapped inside their houses or even offices for days following an earthquake.

That explains why you’ll need enough items to see you through the period or until rescuers arrive.

You may want to prepare more kits depending on the number of people in your home.

Place the kits in strategic places within your house where they’re well visible and easily accessible. 

What Items Should be in Your Earthquake Survival Kit?

Your survival kit should have the following items.

  •         Sufficient food for everyone in your home to last for approximately three to four days
  •         A manual can opener to open your tinned food
  •         A gallon of water per family member and more gallons for emergency purposes
  •         Non-perishable food items such as vegetables, canned food, fruits, tuna, packed snacks, and beans
  •         A manual or solar crank radio to keep you updated with news about the disaster in case of a power blackout
  •         A normal flashlight complete with extra batteries. Where possible, ensure everybody in your home has one of these
  •         Candles, matchboxes, and glow sticks

Prepare an Emergency Tool Kit

An emergency tool kit will come in handy in the event you are trapped and need to get out of the house or rescue your people immediately.

Include the following items in your tool kit

  •         A heavy-duty hammer
  •         A jerk for disconnecting gas lines
  •         A rope ladder
  •         Work gloves
  •         A fire extinguisher
  •         Crowbar

You’ll probably need other items to remain comfortable throughout the disaster. These include:

  •         Plastic bags
  •         Blankets and pillows
  •         Disposable crockery and cutlery
  •         Toiletries
  •         Sufficient emergency cash
  •         Shoes and socks to keep you warm
  •         Writing materials
  •         Toys and games to keep young children occupied

Prepare Your Emergency First Aid Kit

An emergency first aid kit is a must-have in every home and it should be fully stocked with the following items. 

  •         Alcohol-based wipes and antibiotic ointments
  •         Gauze and bandages
  •         Pain killers
  •         Scissors
  •         Antibiotic medication
  •         Anti-diarrhea medication
  •         Needle and thread
  •         Dust masks and gloves
  •         Compression wraps
  •         Splinting materials
  •         Water purification tablets.

If anybody in your home is under medication, you want to make sure that their prescription medicine kit is sufficient and updated. 

Earthquake Destruction

Finally

You can keep yourself and your family members or colleagues safe during an earthquake with these tips.

It’s also important to secure your house or office to minimize damages.

The best way to do so is to secure large items on the floor or walls.

This way, you’ll protect your people from falling objects and potential injuries when the earthquake strikes.

Collaborate with your local community to prepare for earthquakes together.

This way, you’re guaranteed of saving lots of lives.

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