The biggest earthquake ever recorded in the U.S. was in 1964 in Prince William Sound, Alaska, registering at a devastating 9.2 on the Richter Scale. Unfortunately, Alaska, Hawaii, and the West Coast of the United States are highly susceptible to these ground-splitting tremors. These states can blame volcanic eruptions and the shifting of tectonic plates in the Pacific Ring of Fire for all that movement; yet, it’s important to note that the other states can experience earthquakes too.
So are you ready for when the earth starts to rock and roll? Here are a few tips about how to prepare for an earthquake:
1- Make disaster kits that include food, water, flashlights, portable radios, batteries, a first aid kit, cash, extra medications, a whistle, fire extinguisher, etc. These kits should cover the needs for 72 hours.
2- Create a family action plan for what to do during and after an earthquake. Decide on a place to meet that is outside of the home, and choose an out-of-state contact that will be the “I’m safe” contact.
3- Make home your safe. Tie down loose shelves or furniture. Store breakable items behind latched cabinets, etc.
4- Maintain an appropriate amount of emergency food and clean water for the size of the family.
5- Practice an earthquake drill with the family. Go to the right places to wait out an earthquake: Stay away from bookcases or furniture that is likely to fall down and stay away from windows. If in bed, hold on and stay there, protecting your head with a pillow. And when the practice quake is done, run outside of the home and meet at the determined meeting point.
Disaster awareness is key in surviving a natural disaster such as an earthquake. So whether you call yourself a Californian or a New Yorker, it’s time to replace the fear of earthquakes with an adequate disaster preparedness plan.