Having recently been affected by an earthquake, albeit far from the epicenter but still very frightening, I realized how unprepared my family and I were for such an emergency, so I have compiled some general information that will assist in being prepared for most situations that are likely to occur in an earthquake. Much of this information can be applied for other emergency situations such as typhoons, hurricanes, floods and fire.
Prepare your dwelling
Make sure that any heavy fixtures such as mirrors, shelves, cupboards or cabinets are secured to the wall and not placed above beds or seating. Don’t rely on the power cord to ceiling lighting to prevent the fitting from falling. Anything heavy should be anchored to the ceiling joist. Any heavy objects on shelves should be placed on lower shelves. If you are in an identified earthquake prone area then presumably your house complies with the appropriate building code, but it’s advisable to have a professional check out that the roof structure and the walls are secured in accordance with the relevant codes.
Formulate an evacuation plan for family and pets
Discuss and formulate a plan with household members and identify problem areas that can be addressed such as ease of access to the exterior of the house from all rooms in an emergency.
One idea I have seen implemented with schools can be used in the home situation is that each person has a bag prepared for use in an emergency. Some of the items in the bag will need to be checked for expiry dates or freshness and replaced regularly.
- Bottle of water
- Protein or fruit and nut bars
- Disposable dust mask
- Small first aid kit
- Whistle to bring attention
- Battery powered radio
- Cell phone or be sure to bring one
- Matches in a waterproof container
Be sure to have the following readily available in one place in a container or bag that is easy to access quickly on evacuation.
- Birth Certificate
- Insurance papers
- Bank books
- Copies of Wills & Testaments
- Precious photos
- Property Deeds
- Any precious portable items or other important papers
The above is by no means exhaustive, but hopefully will provide you with some basic measures of what to do in an emergency. Further information can be obtained from the following or from your local authority:
Download the Family Disaster Plan from Red Cross