Unlike hurricanes and some other natural hazards, earthquakes strike suddenly and without warning. Nevertheless, if you live in an area at risk for earthquakes, there are things that you can do to reduce the chances that you or other members of your household will be injured, that your property will be damaged, or that your home life will be unduly disrupted by an earthquake. These things all fit under the term preparedness, because to be effective, they must be done before earthquakes occur.
Preparing for earthquakes involves (1) learning what people should do before, during, and after earthquakes; and (2) doing or preparing to do those things now, before the next quake. Following are activities that you can undertake now.
Before the next earthquake
Prepare Your Home
Make your home safer to be in during earthquakes and more resistant to earthquake damage by assessing its structure and contents. Depending on when and how it was designed and built, the structure you live in may have weaknesses that make it more vulnerable to earthquakes. Common examples include structures not anchored to their foundations or having weak crawl space walls, unbraced pier-and-post foundations, or unreinforced masonry walls or foundations.
Prepare Yourself and Your Family
•Survive on Your Own
•Stay in Contact
•Care for People, Pets, and Property
Prepare Your Community
Consider becoming involved in local, voluntary programs that strengthen your community’s disaster resilience. Investigate training and volunteer opportunities available through the American Red Cross. FEMA works with local governments and other community stakeholders to provide free training and volunteer opportunities through its Citizen Corps and Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) programs. Visit www.citizencorps.gov for more information.
During the Next Earthquake
When earthquake shaking begins, immediately apply what you have learned about what to do during an earthquake. Reacting safely will reduce your chances of being injured.
After the Next Earthquake
Once the shaking stops, check for injuries among your family and neighbors and, as needed, administer first aid and call for emergency medical assistance. Also check for hazards in and around your home created by earthquake damage. Keep in mind that aftershocks may strike at any time, exacerbating these hazards and requiring you to immediately drop, cover, and hold on.
Regardless of the severity of this earthquake, learn from the experience.
April is National Earthquake Preparedness Month. The information above is from the Federal Emergency Management Agency website. For more detailed information, visit https://www.fema.gov/earthquake-safety-home.
To help be better prepared for hazards of all types that may threaten our communities and to take action to plan ahead of emergencies, join America’s PerpareAthon! Campaign at www.ready.gov/prepare.