Earthquakes are more likely in some areas than others however it may surprise you that a lot of areas that people often don’t associate with seismic activity are at least post a moderate risk of an earthquake. To determine the risk you face the maps below are useful. As you can quickly see, those in the Western part of the USA are those that need to take the most caution. All maps are courtesy of FEMA.
Keep reading for tips on how to prepare for an earthquake. The higher your risk level the more serious you need to be about your level of preparedness. Some things you may already do in preparation for other disasters but there are some other special considerations you should make too!
Create A Earthquake Plan For You & Your Family
A good plan that everyone knows and understands is one of the best ways to ensure you are ready if an earthquake occurs. Typing up your plan and laminating it so it is sturdy and long lasting is a good idea. Place a copy in a few key areas of your home so everyone has access. Of course, you can also store a copy electronically on your phone in case you or someone else is away and gets caught in an earthquake or the aftermath.
Plans On How To Get Home
What if you are caught at work or school and then need to get home after the quake happens? Knowing alternative routes and being able to navigate can help you get where you need to be in less time and with less risk to your personal safety.
Write Down and Show Others Where Utility Cut Offs Are
It is a good idea to turn off any natural gas or propane coming into your home. This is usually done with the twist of a valve. Older kids and adults are both capable of this.
Electricity is usually controlled by the main breaker. Make sure anyone old enough knows where this is and how to throw it.
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If you are able to cut off your water then it may be advisable. If an earthquake damages plumbing that can lead to major water damage and property loss or even major flooding of your entire home. If you evacuate and then forget to turn off all your utilities then an aftershock may come through and cause even more damage.
Food and Water
Most government agencies recommend having 72 hours worth of food and water for everyone in your home. I don’t think 72 hours is enough. 3 days is better than nothing but I think that 7 days gives you a cushion of safety that is a lot a better. You should have at least that on hand at all times in case of any supply disruptions.
Type Up A List Of Important Phone Numbers and Emergency Contacts
A list of direct lines to the Fire Department, Hospital, Police or Sheriff, disaster relief services, doctors, insurance companies, and any family and friends is recommended. Your phone may have all that info now but what if you can’t use your cell phone or someone else in the family needs to get a number that only you typically use? Not many people keep a paper phone book around anymore it seems like so making your own list and then laminating to waterproof is not a bad idea. You could even have a few copies just in case.