Thursday, January 14, 2010

Frugal Earthquake Preparedness

Haiti has just experienced a dreadful devastating earthquake that should be a warning call to all of us no matter what country we reside in.

My background is in emergency management and preparedness and I would like to share some tips with you.

Earthquakes occur all over the world most often without warning. It is important to prepare and do some simple things to protect your family.

1. Teach your family how to respond in an earthquake and practice response often. Practice DROP, COVER AND HOLD. Immediately drop to the floor and try to get your head under or beside furniture. Hold on and cover your head till the shaking has ended. Do not run when a quake happens. If in bed, drop to the floor and either get under the bed or lay beside it.

2. Identify a Family Meeting Place outdoors away from the house and power lines. Teach the family to exit when safe and meet at this place. Practice often. Have a plan.

3. Put together a Personal Earthquake Safety Kit beside each bed in your home. The kit will contain simple items that can be stored inside the hard hat or inside a canvas bag.

• Hard hat
• Leather work gloves
• Safety glasses
• Shoes with socks stuffed inside
• Flashlight or light stick
• whistle

In an earthquake it is important to protect your head, hands and feet. Most injuries happen to the feet from broken glass and debris. Even if you are not able to reach the kit while the shaking is occurring, it will be useful afterwards during the time of recovery. My kit is kept in a canvas bag right under my bed for easy access. I also included a small ….tool. Every member of the family should have a kit. My kit cost me under $20. New kits are available online.

4. Prepare a Grab And Go Kit.

5. Earthquake proof your home.
• Do not hang large items above beds
• Secure all mirrors, frames and artwork to walls
• Secure furniture, media equipment and bookcases to walls
• Keep evacuation routes and exits clear
• Tie down home or know how home was constructed

6. Store food, water and simple medical supplies.

7. Take a First Aid and CPR class and keep certification current.  Red Cross

8. Take a C.E.R.T, Citizen Emergency Response Training class  C.E.R.T.

9. Share the Map Your Neighborhood class with your neighbors  Map Your Neighborhood 

10. Store Family Emergency Information in a readily accessible location

If you have not done these things and have procrastinated begin today. Make a list and complete one item at a time. Engage the entire family in the preparedness process by making it a family goal. By preparing you will reduce the amount of fear associated with emergencies and disasters, and you will have a plan and know what to do in case something happens.

In the next few blog postings I will address each of these steps and will give further information. Begin today by talking about the news, earthquakes and what to do if an earthquake occurs during dinner time with the entire family. No one is too young to participate in the planning process. Even young ones will gain empowerment knowing their parents are preparing.

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