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Do you live in an area that experiences earthquakes? These 7 Tips to Prepare for an Earthquake will help you keep your family safe!Our family literally lives on an earthquake fault line. You know that giant earthquake that rocked California in 1989? Well it destroyed the area where we live. Having lived in California all my life, I've experienced plenty of ground shaking quakes. In fact, I have vivid memories of that 1989 quake. I was recently talking about it with my students, and started to discuss how to prepare for an earthquake with them. To be honest, it reminded me that we needed to prepare OUR home as well.
How to Prepare for an Earthquake
Family Earthquake Drills: I know, I know….you're rolling your eyes. Yes, it's a super teacher-ish thing to suggest. But the reality is, we ALL panic in an emergency. The more you practice a routine or reaction, the easier it is to implement automatically when you are in a stressful situation (thus why schools have emergency drills). Practice what to do DURING an earthquake (dropping to the ground and covering your head and neck with hands, stay away from glass or loose objects, and if possible take cover under a desk or table) and what to do AFTER an earthquake (if there is a clear path, proceed to safety outside).
Prepare Hanging Items and Furniture: One of the biggest hazards in an earthquake? Loose objects. To prepare your home bolt furniture to walls, don't hang items over beds, and attach your television securely (a number of injuries in the 1989 quake were from televisions falling on children who were sitting close to them……which is why I'm totally paranoid about Lydia not sitting close to the TV). We use these CABLES to attach our TV to the wall.
Teach How to Turn Off Gas, Electricity, and Water: I have to be honest, until last week I had NO CLUE how to turn off the gas line to our house. Now, all gas lines are set to AUTOMATICALLY shut off when they shake. However, crazy things happen in emergencies. Teach older children and all adults how to turn off the gas, electricity and water lines to your home.
Disaster Supply Kit: Prepare for a couple days after an emergency. That means food, water, a first aid kit, safety equiptment. We ordered this Four Person Emergency Kit. If you have a large home, consider storing more than one kit for easy access in an emergency.
Communication Plan: Discuss how to communicate with family members if you are separated in an emergency. Be sure that your children have memorized both parents phone numbers as well as an out of town family member (in this day and age no one DIALS phone numbers anymore and we don't know how to reach each other without our cell phones). Keep your mobile devices charged, and keep at least one external phone battery charged as well (we keep two on hand fully charged at all times).
Check for Defective Electrical Wiring and Gas Connections: Every few months have a trained professional check your home for defective wiring and gas connections. Those can be HUGE hazards in an earthquake!
Latch Cabinets Shut: Items flying out of cabinets can be a HUGE hazard in an earthquake. We use magnetic locks on all our cabinets, they won't fly open in an emergency and they keep out toddlers.