Recently, we talked with our friend James Smith, the Covert Prepper, about recent earthquakes near Lake Mead weren’t reported in the media. Google “Lake Mead Earthquakes” for more info on this story. Of course, that raises the questions of why, but for our purposes today, let’s talk about how: How to protect yourself if significant tremors hit your area. Say what you will about FEMA, at least they have a “Are you prepared?” section to their website (www.fema.gov) to give you guidance on various natural disasters. Here are some of FEMA’s recommendations for those worried about seismic disturbances…
This is not a hurricane, so you probably won’t get much notice. Make sure each member of your family knows what to do no matter where they are when an earthquake occurs. Unless it happens in the dead of night, it’s unlikely you will all be in the house together. Planning ahead will give you the best chance of keeping you family together and make the best of a bad situation. In your home, you’ll need the following:
Food and water; a heat source to cook with; medical supplies, fire extinguishers; flashlights; a portable radio; extra batteries, blankets, clothes, shoes and money (don’t count on credit or debit cards being good if the power’s down); an adjustable wrench to turn off gas or water.
Figure out where you’ll meet when the tremors start. Find out the school system’s plan for earthquakes so you’ll know where to find your kids. This is the time to really get that get-home bag put together. Some food, liquids, and a pair of sturdy, comfortable shoes are the very minimum.
Especially important to know is where your gas, electric and water main shutoffs are. Make sure that everyone has an idea of how to turn them off if there is a leak or electrical short. Know where the nearest medical facility is, but also make sure you’ve taken the Red Cross First Responder Course; EMTs are going to have their hands full and may not get to you quickly.
Look around your house for fixtures like chandeliers and bookcases that might not be stable enough to withstand an earthquake. Flat screen TVs, especially big ones, could easily topple. Especially be sure to check out kitchen and pantry shelves; it’s probably not a great idea to hang that big mirror over the headboard of your bed, either!
What should you do when the tremors start? If you’re indoors, get under a table, desk, or something else solid or get into an inside hallway. You should stay clear of windows, shelves, kitchen areas. While the building is shaking, don’t try to run out; you could easily fall down stairs or get hit by falling debris. I always thought you should stand in the doorway because of the frame’s sturdiness, but it turns out that, in modern homes, doorways aren’t any more solid than any other part of the structure.
Once the initial tremors are over, you can get outside. Once there, stay as far away from power lines, chimneys, and anything else that could fall over on top of you.
Let’s say you’re in the car when the earthquake hits. Get out of traffic as quickly as possible, other drivers are likely to be less level-headed than you are. Whatever you do, don’t stop under bridges, trees, overpasses, power lines, or light posts. Don’t leave your vehicle while the tremors are active.
One issue to be concerned about is gas leaks; make sure you don’t use your camp stoves, lighters, or even matches until you’re certain all is clear. Even a match could ignite a spark that could lead to an explosion. If you turned the gas off, you might consider letting the utility company turn it back on.
Don’t count on telephone service after a natural disaster. Telephone companies only have enough lines to deal with 20% of total call volume at any one time. It’s likely all lines will be occupied. Interestingly, this doesn’t seem to include texts; you’ll have a better to chance to communicate with texts than orally due to the wavelength used.
After an earthquake or any natural disaster, those who are prepared will end up miles ahead of everyone else in terms of keeping their loved one out of harm’s way. Put a plan together, get your family on the same page, and your supplies stored up; If Nurse Amy and I can do it, so can you!
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