Tuesday, May 17, 2011

It's a matter of Earthquake Preparedness.....

Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

If you haven't heard about the recent Earthquake in Japan....then you really must be living under a rock. In fact the USGS (US Geological Survey) has a website that posts earthquakes not only in the US, but world wide.  Did you know that in the past 7 days there have been many earthquakes? The following countries have had them at a magnitude of 6.0 or more: New Guinea, Japan, and Costa Rica. Closer to home, there was a magnitude 6.0 on the CENTRAL MID-ATLANTIC RIDGE on May 15th. 

Last week, we had a wonderful Weekday Relief Society Meeting.  One of our fabulous speakers was Marie P. who has worked with the Red Cross for years and served a great deal of her time in California.  She experienced the Northridge Earthquake first-hand.  She offers many suggestions for Earthquake Preparedness.  Here is the first "installment" for you to consider:


Know your responsibilities - are your Head of household? Single parent family? College situation? Accountable teenager or senior family member living in the home? Live alone?

Do you have a ‘meeting place or area’ outside of the home and/or community where everyone knows to assemble after a disaster? Do you have an out-of-area person in the family or close friend who can act as an ‘information giver’ to others seeking information about you? Have you let everyone know of that name and phone number, and given people your land-line and cell phone numbers? Do you keep your car at least ½ tank full of gas? Do you have walking shoes in the car? A first aid kit? Water and snacks to see you through a couple days in case you are stranded on the road? A working flashlight? Do you have essentials at your work place? Do you carry a list of needed medications in your wallet, with a brief history of medical problems [pacemaker, diabetic, seizures, serious health concerns]?

Personal safety is most important. Glass will become a problem in a bad quake. Lamps, picture frames, windows, pretty dishes, pottery, and other items are of major concern. If you jump out of bed on to a floor where a window has shattered moments before, you have become an instant victim and will be unable to provide help or rescue to anyone else. Don’t be a victim….first things first….put on a pair of sturdy shoes, which should be stored under your bed. Put a small dependable flashlight in one shoe, an extra pair of inexpensive glasses in the other. You’ve got to be able to see to handle any situation. Dress for the weather conditions, and then proceed to help others. It will be frightening, if it is a large quake. Children may be crying, the house may be standing…or not. Prepare for aftershocks, let children know you are under control [as much as possible] and this will help them calm down. Look after the elderly or those with mental or physical limitations. Take care of yourself first, and then help others as time and energy permit. If loved ones out of the disaster area know that you have taken steps to be prepared, this will help them cope with the disaster as well, as they will know you’ve done as much as you could to meet the problem. Coping with the aftermath of a disaster – emotions /depression can prove to be a problem and is individual in response. I can testify after helping others in hurricanes, floods and my personal earthquake mess the questions come forward….What do I do….Where do I start….Where is the energy to meet the needs….Who can help – they have problems too. Realize that these emotions are normal and should be temporary…you will be able to press forward and do what needs to be done.

If I were to evaluate MY personal needs and responses they would be as follows:

• If quake happens while in bed, stay there, put pillow over head, roll body into ball. If it happens and during waking hours inside home, stand in corner, against wall, or under sturdy table; stay away from bookcases, heavy furniture that can topple, glass windows that can pop inwards or out. If you stand in doorway, brace against one side; keep fingers and toes from door jamb area.

• Put on shoes stored under bed [with flashlight & glasses]

• Check verbally and physically for family member wellness

• Check all gas appliances, water heaters, etc. for smell of gas. If odor is present, evacuate home and turn off gas supply at meter. DO NOT turn on without instructions from gas company…air in lines. Our water heaters stood upright after quake but because connection was rigid copper piping and not flexible, it broke and gas spewed into the garage. Water heaters should be secured with metal tape and screws…remember nails will not hold in shaking.

• Move car out of garage to driveway…for future living space, radio connections, and protect from garage debris or collapse.

• Turn off main electricity, water and gas outlets if needed and have suitable tools attached to meters.

• Check water sources – water heater stability, water connection to frig, garden taps, etc.

• Check on immediate neighbors for injuries, etc.

• Evaluate home for additional damage and safety.

• Stay off phone – lines should be for emergency response people. Cont act family using the ‘information giver’ method when possible….just ONE call to ONE person.

• Remove litter as necessary to make home livable, if it is safe to stay, clearing hallways, etc. of glass and debris.

• Plan simple meals using refrigerator food and secure a sleeping area before dark.

• Gather camping supplies or other emergency items on hand.

• Save, re-use, re-evaluate as necessary. Gather litter and have one place in yard for waste. City may advise street-gutter area for pick-up; use this area only if directed to do so.

So, how prepared are you in the "Personal" arena? The Little Red Hen has some tweaking to do...so let's all get busy!


Whaddya Shay said...

Have you checked out the governments' "Map your Neighborhood" program? I just got all of the info and am about to set it up in my neighborhood. Great program and they give you all the materials you need for free.

The Little Red Hen said...

I just looked, and it appears that this is a program in Washington State. Let us know how it works out for you.

01 09 10