How to prepare before an earthquake hits

It’s about when, not if, a major earthquake will hit California. We’ve enjoyed a period of relative earthquake calm — 2.9 here, 4.2 there — but statistically it won’t last long. The San Andreas Fault is capable of the same seismic activity that produced a deadly 7.8 magnitude quake that devastated parts of Turkey and Syria, killing thousands this week.

Are you prepared? Will you be resilient afterwards?

At the LA Times we have a newsletter series called Unshaken. Across six episodes, you’ll learn week by week how to put together an earthquake kit for your home and car, how to secure your furniture, belongings, home and finances for a big hit, and how to plan for a family. Unshaken is free. Each week you’ll receive a copy that includes your disaster preparedness to-do list. You can sign up for Unshaken here or on the LA Times newsletter page.

Here are some key things experts recommend you prepare for an earthquake.

1. Have an emergency kit, including a bedside kit and a commuter kit

You need to have a mini kit on hand to navigate your home in the immediate aftermath of a disaster. It’s called a “by-the-bed kit” and should include hard-soled shoes, a flashlight, and glasses or contact lenses if you need them to see.

Your primary emergency kit should include food, water, and supplies to get your family through a few days without electricity or running water.

Many Californians spend a good chunk of their time on the road. In your car you should have a first aid kit, a blanket, a change of clothes, cash for fuel, a spare tire, and emergency food and water.

If you’re not driving, bring comfortable, flat shoes, some cash, a phone charger, a small first-aid kit, and water and a snack for the road.

2. Know your neighbors

Caltech research associate Lucy Jones, the seismologist known as the “earthquake lady,” says knowing your neighbors is just as important, if not more important, than having a fully loaded emergency kit on hand. While devastation can be instantaneous, in some communities the effects can last for hours, days, weeks, or even years. Knowing the names of people who live close enough to share water, batteries, blankets or their shelter with you could make a life-saving difference.

3. Protect your home, inside and out

Is your furniture attached to the walls? Are these walls retrofitted or otherwise conform to code? Do you have adequate earthquake insurance? Do you have cash on hand for an emergency where the power (and therefore credit card readers) go out?

Now is a good time to check these things out before it’s a matter of life and death.

4. Create a family plan

How will you communicate when cell towers go down and who would you call? Where would your family meet if you were separated in a disaster? Does everyone in the family save emergency numbers? The Federal Emergency Management Agency says fewer than half of Americans have developed an emergency plan or discussed it with their family. Let’s increase those numbers.

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2023-02-07/how-to-prepare-before-an-earthquake-hits How to prepare before an earthquake hits

Alley Einstein

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