Earthquake Insurance Los Angeles: Earthquake Preparedness Tips

Earthquake Preparedness Tips

Earthquakes are unpredictable and can strike without warning. What’s more, they can also cause serious harm to you and your family. That’s why it’s important to know how to prepare for an earthquake and develop a plan to react quickly and safely if a disaster strikes. Keep reading for earthquake preparedness and response tips.

Preparing for an Earthquake

Here are some things you can do to protect yourself, your family and your property in the event of an earthquake:
  • Build an emergency kit and make a family communication plan.
  • Fasten shelves securely to walls.
  • Place large or heavy objects on lower shelves.
  • Store breakable items—such as bottled foods, glass and china—in closed cabinets with latches.
  • Fasten heavy items—such as pictures and mirrors—securely to walls and away from beds, couches and any other places where people might sit.
  • Brace overhead light fixtures and top-heavy objects.
  • Repair defective electrical wiring and leaky gas connections. These are potential fire risks. Get appropriate professional help for such tasks. Do not work with gas or electrical lines yourself.
  • Install flexible pipe fittings to avoid gas or water leaks. Flexible fittings are more resistant to breakage.
  • Secure your water heater, refrigerator, furnace and gas appliances by strapping them to the wall studs and bolting them to the floor. If your gas company recommends it, install an automatic gas shut-off valve that is triggered by strong vibrations.
  • Repair any deep cracks in ceilings or foundations. Get expert advice if there are signs of structural defects. Be sure the residence is firmly anchored to its foundation.
  • Store weed killers, pesticides and flammable products securely on bottom shelves in closed cabinets with latches.
  • Locate safe spots in each room under a sturdy table or against an inside wall. Reinforce this information by moving to these places during each drill.
  • Hold earthquake drills with your family. Remember to drop, cover and hold on.

During an Earthquake

When an earthquake occurs, drop, cover and hold on. Minimize your movements as much as possible.
    If Indoors:
  • Drop to the ground; take cover by getting under a sturdy table or other piece of furniture; and hold on until the shaking stops. If there isn’t a table or desk near you, cover your face and head with your arms and crouch in an inside corner of the building.
  • Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls, and anything that could fall, such as lighting fixtures or furniture.
  • Stay in bed if you are there when the earthquake strikes. Hold on and protect your head with a pillow, unless you are under a heavy light fixture that could fall.
  • nearest safe place.
  • Do not use a doorway unless you know it is a strongly supported, load-bearing doorway and it is close to you. Many inside doorways are lightly constructed and do not offer adequate protection during an earthquake.
  • Stay inside until the shaking stops and it is safe to go outside. Do not exit a building during the shaking. Research has shown that most injuries occur when people inside buildings attempt to move to a different location inside the building or try to leave.
  • Never use elevators during an earthquake.
  • Remember that the electricity may go out, and the sprinkler systems or fire alarms may turn on.
    If Outdoors:
  • Stay outside.
  • Move away from any buildings, streetlights and utility wires.
  • Once in the open, stay there until the shaking stops. The greatest danger exists directly outside buildings, at exits and alongside exterior walls. Ground movement during an earthquake is seldom the direct cause of death or injury. Most earthquake-related casualties result from collapsing walls, flying glass and falling objects.

After the Earthquake

  • When the shaking stops, look around to make sure it is safe to move. Then, exit the building.
  • Expect aftershocks. These secondary shockwaves are usually less violent than the main quake, but can be strong enough to do additional damage to weakened structures. Aftershocks can occur in the first few hours, days, weeks or even months after the quake.
  • Help injured or trapped individuals. Pay special attention to people who may require special assistance, such as infants, the elderly and those with access and functional needs. Give first aid (if qualified to do so) where appropriate. Do not move seriously injured individuals unless they are in immediate danger of further injury.
  • Look for and extinguish small fires. Fire is the most common hazard after an earthquake.
  • Listen to a battery-operated radio or television for the latest emergency information.
  • Be aware of possible tsunamis if you live in coastal areas. These are also known as seismic sea waves (mistakenly called “tidal waves”). When local authorities issue a tsunami warning, assume that a series of dangerous waves is on the way. Stay away from the beach.
  • Use your cellphone only for emergency calls.
  • Go to a designated public shelter if your home has been damaged and is no longer safe.
  • Stay away from damaged areas unless your assistance has been specifically requested by police, the fire department or relief organizations. Return home only when authorities say it is safe.
  • Be careful when driving after an earthquake, and anticipate traffic light outages.
  • Put on long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, sturdy shoes and work gloves to protect against injuries from any broken objects.
  • Open cabinets cautiously. Beware of objects that may fall off shelves.
  • Clean up spilled medicines, bleaches, gasoline or other flammable liquids immediately. Leave the area if you smell gas or fumes from other chemicals.
  • Inspect the entire length of chimneys for damage. Unnoticed damage could lead to a fire.
If any family members are severely hurt, contact emergency services immediately. For more household safety guidance and homeowners insurance solutions, contact us today.