Earthquake Preparedness

Earthquake preparedness is especially important because earthquakes strike without any warning. Since there isn’t any warning, like there often is with wildfires or hurricanes, it is important to be prepared in advance so that you know what to do before, during and after an earthquake.

How can you prepare ahead of time for earthquakes?

Create an Emergency Plan:

If you are needing to create a family emergency plan my emergency preparedness workbook is going to be a phenomenal resource for you. It’s packed with invaluable insights and practical tips to help you navigate any situation life throws your way. Not only will it guide you through crafting a family plan, but it will also empower you to ask the right questions when it comes to insurance. It will also cover other topics like preparing for power outages to food storage, water storage, 72 hour kits and more.

If you aren’t ready to buy my workbook here are a few things to think of when creating your own family plan when it comes to earthquake preparedness.

1-Where is everyone going to meet?
2-Where are you going to go if your house is uninhabitable?
3-How are you going to provide for the basic needs of your family if your normal means are compromised?

Create a 72 hour kit:

Creating a 72 hour kit can seem daunting at first, but truthfully, it’s not too hard to do. More often than not you can make a 72 hour kits with what you already have on hand in 5 easy steps.

First: Grab a container to hold all of your stuff. This can be a backpack, suitcase, tote, whichever fits your needs.

Second: Go through your drawers and grab 2-3 pairs of pants, shirts, shoes, socks, and underwear to put in your bag.

Third: Put 2-3 extra doses of medications in a labeled container and put that in your bag (don’t forget to write an expiration date on it)

Fourth: Go in your pantry and throw in some shelf stable food like granola bars, tuna pouches, peanut butter, crackers, etc. While you’re at it throw in some platic water bottles.

Fifth: Dig through that junk drawer you have and grab the flashlight that is probably out of batteries and find some fresh batteries and put that in your bag.

Now, you have yourself a pretty good start to a 72 hour kit.

Next, you can think about adding toiletries, a backpacking stove, and other items that will make your life a little bit easier.

If you want more in depth posts about 72 hour kits check out the links below.
What isa 72 hour kit and when you would need one
What to put in a 72 hour kit

Secure your home

When it comes to earthquake preparedness you also need to make sure your home is secure. Take a walk through each room and imagine a violent shake. What items could potentially fall or tip? Pay extra attention to objects above beds and any decorations you have hanging. Consider securing or moving them to prevent any unpleasant surprises in the middle of the night.

Other items to secure:

  • Heavy Furniture like dressers, bookshelves, armoires, etc.
  • Water heaters
  • TV’s
  • Mirrors

Side note: if you have young kids it is especially important to secure furniture that they can climb on.

A study I read by Kidsindanger.org gave the following statistic:

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that in the U.S., a child is sent to the emergency room every 60 minutes as a result of falling furniture. Data from a 2021 CPSC report demonstrates the scope of the problem:

  • Ninety one percent of these child tip-over fatalities occur in a residential setting.
  • Although tip-overs impact people of all ages, the incidents are more likely to be deadly when children are involved. Eighty two percent of tip-over deaths involve children.
  • On average, two to three children die every month as a result of falling televisions, furniture, or appliances.
Furniture – Kids in Danger,

Know what to do during an earthquake,

The latest protocol for what to do during an earthquake is to “Drop, Cover, Hold on”

Drop to your hands and knees
Cover your head with your arms OR if you are near a sturdy table crawl underneath it
Hold on until the shaking stops

Remember, safety first! After the shaking stops, you can inspect any damages, but be prepared for aftershocks. If you’re in a car when an earthquake hits, pull over and stop driving until the shaking stops.

After an earthquake

Earthquakes will produce aftershocks that can be just as big as the initial shock. Be prepared to have to drop, cover, and hold on during each aftershock. Ready.gov goes into detail of what to do immediately following an earthquake in this post here.

But, I want to talk about how you can prepare for the days/weeks following a large earthquake.

In this blog post I talked about government agencies like FEMA and The American Red Cross coming to the aid in major disasters. Most people want to assume that when disaster strikes that local and federal aid is going to be there to assist immediately. There are two big problems with that assumption, especially if the disaster area is widespread.

First problem: Government aid can take days to get to areas that need help. Especially, if road infrastructure is blocked or compromised.

Second problem: Government aid is going to deploy to the places that need it the very most. That means they are going to go to the hardest hit area with the most amount of people. Which means if the epicenter of a large earthquake is 20 miles away, in a largely populated area then all the resources are going to go to them. If you do happen to be in the area where government aid is available you will have to share those resources with hundreds to thousands of other people who may need it just as much, if not more than you do.

Northridge Earthquake

When I am preparing for disasters, I like to look back at history to see what people experienced. So, let’s take a look at the 1994 Northridge Earthquake.

“A 6.7 magnitude earthquake struck underneath the San Fernando Valley community of Northridge that hit 20 years ago Friday, killing 57 people and causing $20 billion in damage: collapsed buildings and freeway overpasses, snapped water and gas lines, rampant fires and landslides.”

Timeline: The 1994 Northridge Earthquake – NBC Los Angeles

Within minutes buildings collapsed, started on fire, and/or flooded. Freeways collapsed, massive power outages occurred as well as water and gas lines breaking. People went from living their daily lives to homes and jobs no longer standing. If they did have homes that were standing, they didn’t have power, water, or gas. They couldn’t leave the area easily because the road infrastructure was compromised. According to the timeline article above 3 days later power was finally restored to most residents, but still 5 days later a large number of homes were still without gas and running water.

Stop right now and consider what your life would look like if all of a sudden you were without power, water, and gas. What would that look like for you? How many days could you go comfortably? What if it happened in the middle of winter or summer? What can you do to better prepare your home and your family?

If you need a family plan and find yourself feeling overwhelmed by the thought of making that plan my workbook is here to help you!

Hi I'm JaNae!

I consider myself a practical prepper. I am not about zombies and bunkers. I believe in preparing for personal disasters — job loss, medical problems, financial problems, and natural disasters.

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