Preparing Your Home & Family for an Earthquake or Disater

The tragic disaster in Japan this last week should be a reminder to all of us that this kind of devastation can happen at any time and any where. The question is “Are you prepared for such a disaster?”.

Did you know that scientists say Utah's Wasatch Front faces a 1-in-7 chance of being hit by a magnitude-7.0 earthquake — the size of the tremor that devastated Haiti last year — sometime in the next 50 years?

If it hits at the worst-possible time — in the middle of a winter night — government computer models estimate that it could kill about 3,000 people, injure another 42,000, damage more than a third of all buildings and cause at least $35 billion in economic loss.

More than 60,000 people would need public shelter during freezing temperatures. Most power, water and communications would be out initially, and may not be restored in some areas for months. Fires could be widespread.

Police and firefighters would be so overwhelmed that they could not reach many people for days, so we, as neighbors, would need to rely on each other for help.

As we have seen from recent disasters around the world, being unprepared can be devastating. Many put off creating an emergency plan because it seems like such a time intensive and expensive project.

The emergency plan checklist by Buttoned Up breaks it down into smaller tasks that can be accomplished in 20-30 minutes increments {download free here}. Using the emergency plan checklist as a guide, below are helpful tips and links to preparing for a catastrophe:
One: Organize Your Emergency Plan

Your family may not be together when a disaster occurs, therefore it's essential to plan in advance how you will communicate and get back together in different scenarios.

•Establish a contact. Because it may be easier to make an out-of-town call, identify a contact {ideally out-of-state} your family can call and who can also relay information.

•Make a contact list. Provide a list of contact phone numbers to all members of your family. For cell phone users, program that person(s) as "ICE" (In Case of Emergency) in your phone. If you are in an accident, emergency personnel will often check your ICE listings in order to get a hold of someone you know. Also, make sure to let your family and friends know that you’ve listed them as emergency contacts.

•Subscribe to alert services. Many communities have systems that will send instant text alerts or emails to let you know about such things as bad weather, road closings and local emergencies. To sign up, visit your local Office of Emergency Management website.
•Establish a meeting place. Select two meeting places in the case your family is separated in an emergency. The first location should be near your home. The second should be out-of-state or further away. Also, review possible evacuation routes available in your area online.

•Learn about school and work plans. Find out what emergency plans are in place for your work and child's school.

•Share the plan. Quick Share My Emergency Information is a form you complete to create an email text that includes basic emergency information you can share your family, friends and neighbors. It provides your contact information, emergency contact, out-of-town contact and your neighborhood meeting place.
•Prepare Your Home. Identify items in your home that need to be secured in the case of an earthquake. For complete information on making your home safer visit, Home Quake Safety Toolkit.
Two: Document Your Valuables

To be reimbursed after a catastrophe need a list of the items in your home. Recording with a video or camera the items you would want replaced is a great option. Also, documenting room to room all valuables {artwork, electronics, jewelry, rugs, furniture, clothing, etc.}. The next step is to store the video, photos or list safely with your attorney, accountant or family member.

Three: Get Your Records Ready

One way to organize for an emergency is to create a Home & Life Binder. The binder holds the most critical information for your home and family, so you’re never without it when you really need it. It should be kept in a safe, yet handy place. Assuming you have a computer and printer, creating the binder is a fairly easy DIY project - here's how step-by-step.

Four: Prepare Your Emergency Kit

Ready America, recommends the following items be included in a Basic Emergency Supply Kit:

•Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation

•Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food {canned & packaged foods - include cooking utensils}

•Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both

•Flashlight and extra batteries

•First aid kit

•Whistle to signal for help

•Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place

•Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation

•Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities

•Manual can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)

•Local maps

•Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger

This is a list of additional items to strongly consider adding to an Emergency Supply Kit:

•Prescription medications and glasses.

•Infant formula and diapers.

•Pet food and extra water for your pet.

•Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container.

•Cash or traveler's checks and change.

•Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container. You can use the EFFAK Emergency Financial First Aid Kit - PDF, 277Kb) developed by Operation Hope, FEMA and Citizen Corps to help you organize your information.

•Emergency reference material such as a first aid book or information from www.ready.gov

•Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person. Consider additional bedding if you live in a cold-weather climate.

•Complete change of clothing including a long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes. Consider additional clothing if you live in a cold-weather climate.

•Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper – When diluted nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.

•Fire Extinguisher {get training from your local fire department on how to properly use a fire extinguisher}.

•Matches in a waterproof container.

•Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items.

•Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels.

•Paper and pencil.

•Comfort items such as books, games, puzzles or other activities for children.

For those in earthquake country, have each member of the family keep sturdy shoes, whistle and a working flashlight next to each bed. The shoes will protect feet in the case of broken glass. Also teach everyone in your household to use the whistle or knock three times repeatedly if trapped.

I will post more on the kits {72-hour &  a Grab-n-Go kit} later!

Five: Discuss Your Plan With Your Family

Set a time to meet with all members of your immediate family and those that live with you to discuss your emergency plan together. Let all know where to find the emergency kit{s}, locate important information and who has the documentation for household valuables.

Is your family ready for a catastrophe? If not don't delay in preparing. Planning for a disaster sounds depressing, but when complete will reduce any anxiety or worry you may be feeling.

Plan ahead and be safe!

1 comment:

  1. thanks for all the great tips! I have lots more to do in this area! :) how is your sweet little fam!


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