Why this is happening is the subject of many debates, but it is happening.
Even if you live in the middle of Kansas, you must practice earthquake preparedness. Obviously, areas like California and Alaska are prone to earthquakes, but the areas around Yellowstone National Park, Nevada, Oregon and Oklahoma have all been experiencing regular small earthquakes over the past year, which scientists agree is an indicator a large, devastating earthquake in the future is very likely.
If you are not sure about the chances of an earthquake where you live, visit the USGS website.
There, you will find a history of earthquakes in your area as well as current earthquake activity. Even if you don’t live on a fault line, an earthquake can cause tremors that stretch out for hundreds of miles. If a large metropolitan area were to experience a devastating earthquake, it would have a ripple effect. Commerce, the food chain, communication systems, banking systems and transportation would all be interrupted.
As part of your earthquake preparedness, you will want to follow this checklist.
- Establish a contact person who does not live in the area. This is the person each family member will check in with following a disaster.
- Arrange two meeting places for your family to gather after an earthquake. Have one place in your neighborhood for those who may have been home when the earthquake hit and another in town or near your child’s school or your work.
- Identify areas for your family to shelter in when the earthquake starts. Doorways and under sturdy tables or beds are best. Instruct the family to stay indoors and away from windows. Identify these areas now, so you are not panicking trying to find the safest place to stand in the moment.
- Secure bookshelves and other heavy furniture to walls using wall anchors drilled into beams. This will reduce the risk of injury due to a falling bookcase.
- Remove pictures, mirrors and other wall décor from areas over the bed. These items will come down in an earthquake and could cause serious cuts.
- Explain to each member of the family to seek wide open spaces if they happen to be outside when an earthquake starts. Get as far away from trees and buildings as possible.
- Have a minimum of a 3-day supply of food and water on hand for your earthquake preparedness kit. It may take at least that long for emergency services to mobilize and bring aid.
- Label and show each member of the family how to shut off the main power supply to the home, the gas line and the water main. Keep any necessary tools for the gas and water mains on a chain next to the shut off.
- Stock a supply of water purification tablets just in case the water supply becomes contaminated. It may take several weeks to get sanitation systems repaired and up and running.
- Have a supply of flashlights, emergency candles, matches and an emergency radio on hand. You must keep informed of what is happening around you and when you can expect help to come your way.
Taking the time to learn about earthquake preparedness now can be the key to your survival should an earthquake strike. Educate your family and run drills to keep them ready. Panicking and not thinking clearly during a disaster can result in a person making fatal decisions. Being prepared will give you the best shot at surviving a devastating earthquake.