Even in Earthquake Country, as Southern California is frequently referred to, we get soft. Despite an overdose of personal experience with tremors, enough time between catastrophic events leads to a disarming of supplies, training and common sense preparation.
With January’s 7.0 earthquake in Haiti, followed by this weekend’s massive 8.8 quake in Chile, come renewed fears about the destructive capability of earthquakes and the long lasting impacts to life in the affected areas.
Even though Haiti’s earthquake was significantly less powerful than Chile’s, the infrastructure in the underprivileged nation led to many more deaths, and much greater destruction. Chile is greatly familiar with earthquakes and was therefore better prepared.
Earthquake preparation, however, goes far beyond building codes and emergency response units. In areas prone to earthquakes, each resident must have a detailed emergency plan, as well as the proper supplies necessary to make it through the initial days and weeks after a major disaster.
One of the biggest items to consider in an emergency plan is how to ensure a source of information. A recent study conducted by the National Association of Broadcasters noted that 7 out of 10 Americans owned a battery powered or crank radio. Directly after a major earthquake, phone and internet lines can become inaccessible, and electricity is usually off. Having a small radio can provide the only link to information during the critical first hours and days of a disaster. KHTS AM-1220 will be broadcasting local information around-the-clock in the event of an earthquake.
Food and water are also paramount. As many recall from the 1994 Northridge earthquake, water and food were in short supply for weeks afterward. If gas and electricity resources fail, cooking some common household food items may become problematic as well. Store enough bottled water for the entire family, along with nonperishable snacks. If power is off, plan on eating all food from the refrigerator first.
When preparing for an earthquake, it is important to run through a full checklist on a regular basis. This checklist includes fixing potential hazards in the home, creating medical supply kits, forming communication contacts outside of the area, and earthquake safety procedures.
With two major earthquakes fresh on the mind, now may be the best time to take a moment to review the list and get prepared. The full earthquake preparation list is available by clicking here.