Earthquakes can bring mild to violent shaking and can occur anytime, anywhere. On this episode, we’ll discuss some tips and strategies to help you protect yourself, your family, and your property before, during, and after an earthquake.
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Keith Thomas 00:02
Welcome to typical prepping the podcast for those who would like to start their own disaster preparedness plan, or those who have gotten started, but are not quite sure where or how to take the next steps. Each week I'll present a disaster preparedness topic with actionable tips and strategies that you can implement to start or grow your personal disaster preparations. Thanks for stopping by to listen today.
Keith Thomas 00:59
Hi, I'm Keith, and welcome to typical prepping. Earthquakes can bring mild to violent shaking and can occur anytime, anywhere. On this episode, we'll discuss some tips and strategies to help you protect yourself your family, and your property before during, and after an earthquake.
What Causes Earthquakes
Keith Thomas 01:19
So what causes earthquakes, earthquakes result from the movement of blocks of the Earth's crust. When a block of the crust is pushed past another along a fault, friction between the blocks keeps them from moving. Eventually, the force of the pushing will overcome the friction and the blocks will move past each other, releasing energy in waves that we feel as the earthquake. The driving force behind the motion is plate tectonics. The theory of plate tectonics came together in the 1960s when geologists noticed the similarity of geographic formations separated by the Atlantic Ocean and seismologists observed the concentration of earthquakes in relatively narrow bands in only certain locations. The blocks of the earth that move together are called plates. And the biggest faults are at the boundaries between plates. Most of the United States is on the North American plate. Hot Rock comes up from the mantle at mid-ocean ridges and cools creating new seafloor that moves out over the softer mantle underneath. So the North American plate grows from the new ocean floor in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and pushes down other plates of cool rock along subduction zones that run from Northern California to Japan. In California, the North American plate slides past the Pacific Plate. Because of this, the West Coast has more faults and more earthquakes than elsewhere in the United States. But earthquakes also happen within the plate.
Know Your Risk
Keith Thomas 03:09
To better understand how to prepare for an earthquake. The first thing we need to know is what our risk is. An earthquake is the sudden rapid shaking of the earth caused by the braking and shifting of subterranean rock as it releases strain that has accumulated over a long time. Initial mild shaking may strengthen and become extremely violent within seconds. Additional earthquakes called aftershocks may occur for hours, days, or even months. Most are smaller than the initial earthquake, but larger magnitude aftershocks also occur. Earthquakes can happen at any time of the year and occur without warning. All US states and territories are at some risk for earthquakes. The risk is higher in identified seismic zones, such as California, larger earthquakes might cause deaths, injuries, and extensive property damage. Most casualties and injuries during an earthquake occur when people fall while trying to walk or run during the shaking when they are hit by falling flying or sliding household items, or non-structural debris, and/or when they're stuck or trapped by collapsing walls or other parts of the building. Transportation water, power, gas, and other services may be disrupted. In some areas shaking can cause liquification when the ground acts more like a liquid. When this happens, the ground can no longer support the weight of a building. In coastal areas. Earthquakes under the seafloor can cause tsunamis.
Protect Yourself Before an Earthquake
Keith Thomas 04:53
So, to protect yourself before an earthquake, you can prevent potential injuries by taking the time to Secure your space. Secure items that might fall, fly or slide in an earthquake. Imagine if the room was picked up and shaken up and down and side to side, and then determine what items would be thrown around. Periodically review the locations where you spend time, your home, workplace, or school, and look for potential hazards and secure them. Electronics such as computers, televisions, and microwave ovens are heavy and expensive to replace. Secure them with flexible nylon straps. Bookcases, filing cabinets, china cabinets, and other tall furniture should be anchored to wall studs or masonry. Do not anchor to the drywall. Use flexible straps that allow them to sway without falling to the floor. Secure your water heater refrigerator and other major appliances with the appropriate straps screwed into the wall studs or masonry to help keep them from falling over and rupturing gas or electrical connections. Gas appliances should have flexible connectors to absorb the shaking while reducing the risk of fire. Cabinet doors can fly open allowing contents to crash to the floor. Secure them with latches. Objects such as framed photos, books, lamps, and other items that you keep on shelves and tables can become flying hazards. Secure them with hooks, adhesives, or earthquake putty to keep them in place. Move heavy or unbreakable items to lower shelves. Mirrors, pitcher frames, and other hanging items should be secured to the wall with closed hooks or earthquake Putty. Do not hang heavy objects over beds, sofas are any place you may be seated.
Assemble Emergency Supplies
Keith Thomas 06:59
Take time now to collect the emergency supplies you would need. If the power was out water supplies were cut off and grocery stores were not open. You can build your supplies over time by adding a few items as your budget permits. Basic emergency supplies would include the following, most of which you probably already have in your home; Water, ensure that you have at least one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days. Store a longer than three-day water supply if possible. An average person drinks about three-quarters of a gallon of fluid daily. individual needs vary depending on age, gender, health, level of activity, food choices, and climate. You may also need stored water for food preparation.
Food, store at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food for members of your household including pets. Consider special dietary needs, such as infant formula, and include a non-electric can opener for canned food.
Flashlight radio and cell phone charger, you will need to be able to charge these items without electricity. Your flashlight and radio could be either hand-cranked or battery-powered and stored with extra batteries. Your cell phone charger could be hand crank, solar, or able to be charged from your car outlet.
Include a first aid kit, prescription, and non-prescription over-the-counter medications and medical supplies.
Pack supplies for sanitation, such as hand sanitizer, tablets, paper products, and plastic bags for use when water resources are limited.
For assistive technology include battery backup power for power-dependent mobility devices, oxygen, and other assistive technology needs.
Ensure you have clothing with long sleeves and long pants thick-soled shoes and work gloves to protect yourself after the earthquake and a sleeping bag a warm blanket for each person if you live in a cold-weather climate.
Include a whistle to signal for help.
Store cash in case ATMs are not functioning after the earthquake.
Because earthquakes can cause fires to break out have a fire extinguisher so you can put out any small fires. Use a fire extinguisher only if you're physically capable.
Consider storing supplies in several locations if possible. This means having basic supplies of food and water in locations including your workplace, your vehicle and if possible, other places you and family members regularly spend time. It's important to consider the unique needs of your family, including access and functional needs and the needs of children and pets. You may need to include extra water special food, such as in infant formula or pet food, and supplies or equipment, such as diapers, glasses, or medical equipment.
Protect Yourself During an Earthquake
Keith Thomas 10:13
It's important to protect yourself during an earthquake. Remember, drop cover and hold on. During an earthquake minimize your movements to a few steps to a nearby a safe place.
If you're indoors, stay there until the shaking is stopped, and you're sure it's safe to exit. So, if you're indoors drop on your hands and knees. Cover your head and neck with your arms. This position protects you from falling and provides some protection for vital organs. Because moving can put you in danger from the debris in your path. Only move if you need to get away from the danger of falling objects. If you can move safely crawl for additional cover under a sturdy desk or table. If there's low furniture or an interior wall or corner nearby and the path is clear. These may also provide some additional cover. Stay away from glass windows, outside doors and walls, and anything that could fall such as lighting fixtures or furniture. Hold on to any sturdy shelter until the shaking stops. And do not run outside Stay where you are until the shaking stops. Do not get in a doorway as this does not provide protection from falling or flying objects and you likely will not be able to remain standing.
If you're outdoors if you can move away from buildings, streetlights, and utility wires. Once in the open, drop cover and hold on. Stay there until the shaking stops. This might not be possible in a city so you may need to duck inside a building to avoid falling debris.
If you're in bed, stay there and cover your head and neck with a pillow, and at night hazards and debris are difficult to see and avoid. Attempts to move in the dark result in more injuries than remaining in bed. If you're in a moving vehicle, it's difficult to control a vehicle during the shaking so stop as quickly and safely as possible and stay in the vehicle. Avoid stopping near or under buildings, trees, overpasses, and utility wires. proceed cautiously once the earthquake has stopped. Avoid roads, bridges, or ramps that the earthquake may have damaged.
Protect Yourself After an Earthquake
Keith Thomas 12:43
Once the shaking has stopped, wait a minute before getting up and then look around for debris or other dangers. If you're able to safely move to exit the building, and there's an open space to go to, exit the building and avoid damaged areas and downed power lines. For buildings in metropolitan areas that do not have nearby open space. It may be safer to remain in the building until you're certain you will avoid additional glass and debris that may fall from nearby buildings. Remember aftershocks may cause further damage to weakened structures and present hazards to those exiting buildings. Drop, Cover and Hold On whenever you feel shaking.
· Monitor local news reports for emergency information and instructions.
· If you're trapped do not move about or kick up dust. Cover your mouth with a handkerchief or clothing. Shout only as a last resort. Shouting can cause you to inhale dangerous amounts of dust. Use your cell phone to call or text for help. Tap on a pipe or wall or use a whistle if available, so rescuers can locate you.
· If you are in a damaged building and there's a safe way out through the debris, leave and go to an open space outside. If you can do so safely. Take a moment to take what you might need immediately and can carry easily such as a purse or go bag and once outside do not reenter until the building is certified to be safe.
· Check for injuries and provide assistance if you have training. Assist with rescues if you can do so safely.
· If you are near the coast, learn the tsunami risk for your area. If you are in an area that may experience tsunamis. When the shaking stops, walk inland, or to higher ground immediately. Monitor official reports for more information on the area's tsunami evacuation plans.
· Stay away from damaged areas. Never use a lighter or matches near damaged areas and check for and extinguish small fires.
· Have your utilities inspected by qualified professionals for damage to the electrical system, sewage, gas, and water lines.
· If your home has been damaged and is no longer safe, and you need a place to stay text SHELTER plus your zip code to find the nearest public shelter in your area.
More Tips to Stay Safe After an Earthquake
Keith Thomas 15:21
Here are a few more tips to stay safe after an earthquake.
· Earthquakes can destroy or make buildings and roads unsafe.
· Use extreme caution around debris. Do not attempt to remove heavy debris by yourself and assist with rescuers only if you can do so safely.
· Wear protective clothing including long sleeve shirt, long pants or gloves, and sturdy, thick-soled shoes during cleanup. These will protect you from further injury from broken glass exposed nails, or other objects.
· Do not touch electrical equipment if it is wet or you are standing in water.
· If you smell gas, call 911.
· Photograph or take a video of damage to your property to assist with filing an insurance claim.
· Know that this will be an emotional time and it is normal to feel a little blue. Seek help for yourself or others if depression or anxiety persists or seems out of proportion for the circumstances.
· Expect aftershocks. These additional earthquakes are usually less violent than the main quake but can be strong enough to further damage weakened structures. They can occur in the first hours, days, weeks, or even months after the earthquake. Be ready to protect yourself.
Keith Thomas 16:50
Remember, if an earthquake happens, protect yourself right away.
Keith Thomas 16:54
There can be serious hazards after an earthquake, such as damage to the building leaking gas and water lines, or downed power lines. Once you're safe, pay attention to local news reports for emergency information and instructions via battery-powered radio, TV, social media, or from cell phone text alerts.
Keith Thomas 17:17
If you haven't made an emergency plan for your family, check out episode number two the family emergency communication plan, episode number three financial disaster planning, and episode number four, the basic emergency supply kit. Be sure to see the show notes for those episodes and download the necessary documents to help make your plan. Well, folks, that's gonna do it for this week. Thanks for listening and join me next week for another preparedness topic. And until then, stay safe and be prepared.
Keith Thomas 17:51
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