Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Earthquake Preparedness

The Great California Shakeout is coming up next month.  It's something that is done each year to prepare people for an upcoming earthquake.  Depending on who you are, individual family, CERT, or a First Responder, will depend on the training you will need to do. 

I found a few facts on the website:  1) Earthquakes have produced over $55 billion in losses in California since 1971. The next large earthquake may produce even greater losses, especially if it affects a major urban area. California’s two largest urban centers lie in the State’s highest hazard zones. 2) A large earthquake in or near a major urban center in California will disrupt the economy of the entire state and much of the nation. Effective disaster planning by State and local agencies, and by private businesses, can dramatically reduce losses and speed recovery. 3) Current building codes substantially reduce the costs of damage from earthquakes, but the codes are intended only to prevent widespread loss of life by keeping the buildings from collapsing, not to protect the building from damage. 4) If the Northridge or Loma Prieta earthquake had occurred closer to a major population center, fatalities would have been much higher. Earthquakes in Japan in 1995 (over 5,000 deaths), Turkey in 1999 (over 20,000 deaths), and China in 2008 (over 70,000 deaths) produced catastrophic death tolls. 5) After a large earthquake, residents and businesses may be isolated from basic police, fire, and emergency support for a period ranging from several hours to a few days. Citizens must be prepared to survive safely on their own, and to aid others, until outside help arrives. 6) Maps of the shaking intensity after the next major earthquake will be available within minutes on the internet. The maps will guide emergency crews to the most damaged regions and will help the public identify the areas most seriously affected.

The website also listed seven steps to earthquake safety.  1. Identify potential hazards in your home and begin to fix them. 2. Create a disaster plan. 3. Create disaster supplies kits. 4. Identify your building's potential weaknesses and begin to fix them. 5. Protect yourself during earthquake shaking. 6. Check for injuries and damage. 7. When safe, follow your disaster plan. Not bad for newbies but a pretty lame site for people who prepare anyway. 

Perhaps this is even a way to get some people to think about preparing for TEOTWAWKI.  Of course, this website also talks about if it's declared a disaster area FEMA will provide housing, food, etc.  I wouldn't want to rely on FEMA, would you?

There were cool maps that showed the probability of earthquakes happening as well as past earthquakes.   I'm happy to say we live in a very low probability area.  http://www.shakeout.org/centralsouth/ (there's a dropdown box to choose other areas in the state)  Even with this in mind, I am earthquake prepared.  We have food stored in more than one location on the property.  We have the ability to turn off the propane at the tank and at the house.  We can eat even if there isn't electricity to run the refrigerator or freezer.  We can preserve what's in the freezer so it won't go to waste.  The china cabinet is bracketed to the wall.  So are the bookcases.  We don't have pictures hanging above our heads at the beds.  The water heater is strapped in. 

I don't have latches on the cabinet doors.  If we get a good quake dishes and glasses will come out of the cabinet.  Oh well, I don't want to have to unlatch the doors.  On the other hand, if we lived somewhere with a little higher probability of a quake, the doors would have latches.

Whether it's fire, earthquake, or some other instant disaster, preparedness brings peace of mind. 

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