Geology And Geophysics

Disaster Planning for Earthquakes

Tammy L Mahan's image for:
"Disaster Planning for Earthquakes"
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As an individual that lives in an area prone to earthquakes I recently found myself researching earthquake related information and preparedness was one of the most important issues I came across.

While I don't believe that anyone can be 100 percent prepared for an earthquake or any other natural disaster we can educate ourselves and prepare to the best of our ability.


The most important thing to remember when preparing your home for an earthquake is not about saving your most precious material belongings. It's about keeping you and your family as safe as possible during the actual earthquake.

~ Bolt your heavy furniture to the walls and floor (using specific bolts provided for this purpose.) They will either come with the product (in CA the majority of new home furnishings come with these "bolts" or you can purchase them at a hardware store.

~ Use a heavy duty double-sided tape (preferably a high grade one that will not remove the varnish or paint) and use it to secure all your knick knack type items. You'd be surprised at how much damage a dozen glass decorations can do to you head it they all fall on you at once.

~ Place all your heavy items on bottom shelf's that includes books, canned food, heavy pots and pans, tools boxes and tools and any other number of everyday items you have in your home.

~ Put latches on all your cupboard doors and closets. This will keep items from tumbling out on top of you. Or at least give you a few seconds warning if you're standing in front of a rattling closet door so you can move.


While this subtitle may sound a bit off what I mean is after an earthquake you may find yourself with out many pieces of valuable information such as; your drivers license, birth certificates, marriage license, insurance policies, health insurance cards, medical records, social security cards, credit cards and family photo's and other special items that mean a lot to you.

~ Make a few photo copies of all the above listed items and other items of value. During a disaster it could weeks if not months to get a new driver's license and social security card.

~ Make a special photo album of your favorite photo's and a small box of important memories, your Childs first report card or home movies anything that is not replaceable.

~ If you have family or friends that live out of state send your special package to them for safe keeping.

~ If you do not have family or friends out of state you can get a safety deposit box at a bank preferably 100 or so miles from your home. It defeats the purpose to put it in a local bank.

Educate yourself and your family about what to do during the actual earthquake.

~ Stay away from windows and heavy furniture.

~ If your in bed stay in bed!

~ A room with no windows or small windows is safer, such as a bathroom or hallway.

~ Drop the ground tuck your knees under your chest and use your hands and arms to cover the back of your head.

~ When the shaking stops look around at your surroundings before you move. If you find it safe to move about then exit your home. Once outside stay in an area that is clear of trees, poles, buildings or anything else that could come down with the aftershocks.

~ If you're outside during an earthquake quickly get to a clearing free of falling or possible falling objects.

~ If you're driving during an earthquake quickly and carefully pull over to the side of the road and again stay clear of objects that could fall on you or your car.

~ If you're on a bridge at the time get off it by foot! Do not attempt to drive during an earthquake.

~ If your children are in school at the time chances are they will be safe. Schools in earthquake prone areas are equipment to handle an earthquake and the students know how to duck and cover under their desks. Your child will be well taken care of if you can't get to them immediately. Schools have extra stocks of food and water and medical supplies and schools are the first on the list for receiving help in situations like this.

While an earthquake is one of the most terrifying natural disasters an individual can go through partially due to the simple fact you don't know its coming and when it's over the mass panic that sets in is incomprehensible.

There is no amount of planning that can prepare you for an earthquake but these simple suggestions and basic knowledge can save your life and make rebuilding it a little easier.

More about this author: Tammy L Mahan

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