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72 Hour Survival Kit
Basics for a 3 day period. Many people buy these kits rather than assembling their own.  Read More...

MRE Emergency Food
Meals Ready to eat are easy to carry and prepare. They are used by military units and other groups around the world.  Read More...

Emergency Food Rations
Emergency food rations are  food bars that provide and emergency food source. They are light, easy to carry, low priced and have along shelf life  Read More...

Emergency Water Storage
Water is a absolute necessity for disaster survival. Proper Storage containers protect your water supply. There are several types of water storage available including portable containers or low priced 55 gal. plastic drums to truck sized containers.  Read More...

Emergency Water Treatment
Water treatment can provide emergency water in the most dire circumstances even if you are caught in a disaster while away from home. There are several items and methods available.  Read More...


 

 


 

Disaster Survival - Earthquake Survival

A building crumbles after an earthquake.Surviving an earthquake and reducing its impact requires preparation, planning, and practice. Far in advance, you can gather emergency supplies, identify and reduce possible hazards in your home, and practice what to do during and after an earthquake. Learning what actions to take can help you and your family to remain safe in the event of an earthquake.

While California has been the state most prone to serious earthquakes in recent years, there are many other fault zones in other areas of the United States. For example, geologists and seismologists have predicted a 97 percent chance of a major earthquake in the New Madrid seismic zone of the central United States (including Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, and Kentucky) between now and the year 2035. While earthquakes with the power of the one that hit the greater Los Angeles area in January 1994 are fairly rare, less severe earthquakes can interrupt your normal living patterns and cause substantial injury.

During a major earthquake, you may hear a roaring or rumbling sound that gradually grows louder. You may feel a rolling sensation that starts out gently and, within a second or two, grows violent.

 

OR . . .

You may first be jarred by a violent jolt. A second or two later, you may feel shaking and find it difficult to stand up or move from one room to another.

The real key to surviving an earthquake and reducing your risk of injury lies in planning, preparing, and practicing what you and your family will do if it happens.

 During an Earthquake

Indoor Safety

There are actions you can take, even while an earthquake is happening, that will reduce your chances of being hurt. Lights may be out, and hallways, stairs, and room exits may be blocked by fallen furniture, ceiling tiles, and other debris. Planning for these situations will help you to take action quickly.

  • If an earthquake strikes, you may be able to take cover under a heavy desk or table. It can provide you with air space if the building collapses. If you get under a table and it moves, try to move with it.

  • Inner walls or door frames are the least likely to collapse and may also shield against falling objects. If other cover is not available, go to an inner corner, away from windows or glass panels.

  • Stay away from glass and hanging objects, and bookcases, china cabinets, or other large furniture that could fall. Watch for falling objects, such as bricks from fireplaces and chimneys, light fixtures, wall hangings, high shelves, and cabinets with doors that could swing open.

  • Grab something to shield your head and face from falling debris and broken glass.

  • If the lights go out, use a battery-operated flashlight. Don't use candles, matches, or lighters during or after the earthquake. If there is a gas leak, an explosion could result.

  • If you are in the kitchen, quickly turn off the stove and take cover at the first sign of shaking.

High-Rise Buildings

Get under a desk and stay away from windows and outside walls. Stay in the building. The electricity may go out, and the sprinkler systems may come on. DO NOT use the elevators.

Crowded Indoor Public Places

If you are in a crowded public place, do not rush for the doorways. Others will have the same idea. Move away from display shelves containing objects that may fall. If you can, take cover and grab something to shield your head and face from falling debris and glass.

Outdoor Safety

If outdoors, move away from buildings and utility wires. The greatest danger from falling debris is just outside doorways and close to outer walls. Once in the open, stay there until the shaking stops.

Automobiles

If you are in a moving automobile, stop as quickly and safely as possible and move over to the shoulder orA large fissure is torn in pavement after an earthquake, making the road impassible. curb, away from utility poles, overhead wires, and under- or overpasses. Stay in the vehicle, set the parking brake, and turn on the radio for emergency broadcast information. A car may jiggle violently on its springs, but it is a good place to stay until the shaking stops. If you are in a life-threatening situation, you may be able to reach someone with either a cellular or an emergency roadside assistance phone.

When you drive on, watch for hazards created by the earthquake, such as breaks in the pavement, downed utility poles and wires, a fallen overpasses and bridges. 

Inspecting for Possible Home Hazards

An important step in earthquake preparedness is to inspect your home and its surroundings for possible hazards and then take action to lessen those hazards. Remember: anything can move, fall, or break during an earthquake or its aftershocks.

The following is a basic checklist to help you identify and correct possible home hazards.

Rooms in the Home

Look for the following hazards in each room:

  • Windows and other glass that might shatter

  • Unanchored bookcases, cabinets, refrigerators, water heaters, and other furniture that might topple

  • Heating units, fireplaces, chimneys, and stoves that could move or fall

  • Areas that could be blocked by falling debris

Securing Appliances

  •  Secure your large appliances with flexible cable, braided wire, or metal strapping.

  •  Install flexible gas and water connections on all gas appliances. This will significantly reduce your chances of having a major fire after an earthquake.

  •  Brace and support air conditioners, particularly those on rooftops.

The typical water heater weighs about 450 pounds when full. In an earthquake, the floor on which it is standing tends to move out from under the heater, often causing it to topple. The movement can also break the gas, electric, and water-line connectors, posing fire or electric shock hazards, and can shatter the glass lining within the water heater.

Here are two suggestions on how to secure your water heater:

  • Wrap at least a 1 /2-inch wide metal strap around the top of the water heater and attach it to wall studs with 3-inch lag screws. Attach another strap about 2/3 of the way down from the top of the water heater. OR...

  • Wrap steel plumber's tape around the entire water heater at least twice. Then secure the tape to two different wall studs with 3-inch lag screws.

Securing Items in the Bathroom

Replace glass bottles from your medicine cabinet and around the bathtub with plastic containers.

Hanging and Overhead Items

  • Inspect and anchor overhead light fixtures, such as chandeliers.

  • Move heavy mirrors and pictures hanging above beds, chairs, and other places where you sit or sleep. Otherwise, anchor these items with wire through eyescrews bolted into wall studs. Or place screws on both sides, top, and bottom of the frame and screw these into the studs.

  • Determine whether the full swing of your hanging lamps or plants will strike a window. If so, move them.

  • Secure hanging objects by closing the opening of the hook.

  • Replace heavy ceramic or glass hanging planters with light-weight plastic or wicker baskets.

Shelves, Cabinets, and Furniture

  • Identify top-heavy, free-standing furniture, such as bookcases and china cabinets, that could topple in an earthquake.

  • Secure your furniture by using:

    • "L" brackets, corner brackets, or aluminum molding to attach tall or top-heavy furniture to the wall

    • eyebolts to secure items located a short distance from the wall

  • Attach a wooden or metal guardrail on open shelves to keep items from sliding or falling off. Fishing line can also be used as a less-visible means of securing an item.

  • Place heavy or large objects on lower shelves.

  • Use Velcro®-type fastenings to secure some items to their shelves.

  • Secure your cabinet doors by installing sliding bolts or childproof latches.

Hazardous Materials

Identify poisons, solvents, or toxic materials in breakable containers and move these containers to a safe, well-ventilated storage area. Keep them away from your water storage and out of reach of children and pets.

Inspecting and Securing Your Home's Structure

Examine the structural safety of your house. If your house is of conventional wood construction, it will probably be relatively resistant to earthquake damage, particularly if it is a single-story structure.

For information on structural safety standards and qualified contractors in your area, contact your city or county government office on community development or building code enforcement.

The following suggestions will take an investment of time and money but will add stability to your home. If you want to do the work yourself, many hardware or home-improvement stores will assist you with information and instructions.

Foundation

Cars Trucks, Buildings and other items in this picture were washed further inland after an earthquake and following Tsunami wave.Check to see if your house or garage is securely fastened to the foundation. (If your house was built before 1950, it probably does not have bolts securing the wood structure to the concrete foundation.) If your house is not secured to the foundation, take the following steps:

  • Using a hammer drill and carbide bit, drill a hole through the sill plate into the foundation. Holes should be approximately 6 feet apart.

  • Drop a 1/2- x 7-inch expansion bolt into each hole and finish by tightening the nut and washer.

Beams, Posts, Joists, and Plates

Strengthen the areas of connection between beams, posts, joists, and plates using the following hardware:

  •  "T" and "L" straps
  •  Mending plates
  •  Joist hangers
  •  Twin post caps
  •  Nails and lag screws

Pay particular attention to exposed framing in garages, basements, porches, and patio covers.

Roof and Chimney

  • Check your chimney or roof for loose tiles and bricks that could fall in an earthquake. Repair loose tiles or bricks, as needed.

  • Protect yourself from falling chimney bricks that might penetrate the roof, by reinforcing the ceiling immediately surrounding the chimney with 3/4-inch plywood nailed to ceiling joists.

Learning to Shut Off Utilities

  • Know where and how to shut off utilities at the main switches or valves. Check with your local utility companies for instructions.

  • Teach all family members how and when to shut off utilities.

Gas

  • An automatic valve (Earthquake Command System) is commercially available that will turn the gas off for you in the event of an earthquake.

  • After an earthquake, DO NOT USE matches, lighters, or appliances, and do not operate light switches until you are sure there are no gas leaks. Sparks from electrical switches could ignite gas, causing an explosion.

  • If you smell the odor of gas, or if you notice a large consumption of gas being registered on the gas meter, shut off the gas immediately. First, find the main shut-off valve, located on a pipe next to the gas meter. Use an adjustable wrench to turn the valve to the off position.

Electricity

After a major disaster, shut off the electricity. Sparks from electrical switches could pose a shock or fire hazard. Carefully turn off the electricity at the main electrical breaker in your home.

Water

Water may be turned off at either of two locations:

  • At the main meter, which controls the water flow to the entire property; or

  • At the water main leading into the home. (Shutting off the water here retains the water supply in your water heater, which may be useful in an emergency.)

Attach a water valve wrench ( or sometimes called a water meter wrench or water key) to the water line. (This tool can be purchased at most hardware stores.) Also, label the water mains for quick identification.

After an Earthquake

Be prepared for additional earth movements called "aftershocks." Although most of these are smaller than the main earthquake, some may be large enough to cause additional damage or bring down weakened structures.

Because other aftereffects can include fires, chemical spills, landslides, dam breaks, and tidal waves, be sure to monitor your battery-operated radio or TV for additional emergency information.

Injuries

Check for injuries. Do not attempt to move injured or unconscious people unless they are in immediate danger from live electrical wires, flooding, or other hazards. Internal injuries may not be evident, but may be serious or life-threatening. If someone has stopped breathing, call for medical or first aid assistance immediately and begin CPR if you are trained to do so. Stop a bleeding injury by applying direct pressure to the wound. If you are trapped, try to attract attention to your location.

Checking Utilities

A night picture when power has been knocked out. Survival may depend on avoiding obstacles and downed power lines that cannot be seen in the darkness. Prepare with good flashlights and fresh batteries.

At Night be very careful if you must be out. Downed power lines and other obstacles can be DEADLY! Prepare with bright high quality flashlights that project strong beams and keep fresh batteries on hand.

An earthquake may break gas, electrical, and water lines. If you smell gas: (1) open windows; (2) shut off the main gas valve; (3) do not turn any electrical appliances or lights on or off; (4) go outside; (5) report the leak to authorities; and (6) do not reenter the building until a utility official says it is safe to do so.

  • If electric wiring is shorting out, shut off the electric current at the main box.

  • If water pipes are damaged, shut off the supply at the main valve.

 

Other Precautions

  • Have chimneys inspected for cracks and damage. Do not use the fireplace if the chimney has any damage.

  • Check to see if sewage lines are intact before using bathrooms or plumbing.

  • Do not touch downed powerlines or objects in contact with downed lines. Report electrical hazards to the authorities.

  • Immediately clean up spilled medicines, drugs, flammable liquids, and other potentially hazardous materials.

  • Stay off all telephones except to report an emergency. Replace telephone receivers that may have been knocked off by the earthquake.

  • Stay away from damaged areas. Your presence could hamper relief efforts, and you could endanger yourself.

  • Cooperate fully with public safety officials. Respond to requests for volunteer assistance from police, fire fighters, emergency management officials, and relief organizations, but do not go into damaged areas unless assistance has been requested.

Evacuating Your Home

If you must evacuate you home:

  • Post a message, in a prearranged location known only to family members, indicating where you have gone.

  • Confine pets to the safest location possible and make sure they have plenty of food and water. Pets will not be allowed in designated public shelters.

  • Take vital documents (wills, insurance policies, etc.), emergency supplies, and extra medications with you.

This information is based on or excerpted from CDC recommendations for earthquake preparation.
Information courtesy of the CDC.
More Info CDC Earthquakes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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