This is a good time to remind you about earthquake safety. By taking simple precautions you can rock and roll through the next one and come out without any cuts. Expect a lot of broken glass both inside and outside of your home. Get an extra pair of flip-flops and keep them beside every bed in your home. If a quake happens during the night, like the Napa quake did, you can have your feet covered and protected from walking through glass. These were the most injuries the medical personnel treated yesterday and it’s so simple to prevent this in your own home.
If you think this earthquake safety isn’t worth your time reading about, let me show you what can happen with a severe quake, the kind they’re anticipating again in the Bay Area, but much bigger than 6.0. Much of this area is subject to liquefaction so pay attention. This kind of damage happens in an instant and we may, once again, be without power for a while so it’s important to have a safety kit handy.
This subject is serious business and one that you should not ignore. Get some simple supplies in a large container and make sure that container is easy to reach, just in case your home collapses during the quake. Inside that box should be the following:
- Fresh water (enough for 3 days)
- Food that doesn’t require refrigeration or heat
- Canned juices
- Dried foods and milk if you have children
- Food bars – protein bars are the best
- Toilet paper
- Paper Towels
- A First Aide Kit
- Blankets or sleeping bags
- Pet food if you have pets
- Emergency blankets
- Can opener (manual)
- Emergency radio – either wind up or one that requires batteries and if you use batteries make sure they’re fresh
- Flash lights
- Rubber gloves
- Sanitizing wipes
- Dust masks
- A roll of Plastic sheeting or a small tent
- Duct tape
- Electrical tape
- Pet containers nearby for your pet’s safety
- Gas wrench for turning off your gas line should you smell gas. DO NOT do this unless you smell gas because it will take PG&E a while to turn it back on if you didn’t need to do this.
You can make this kit or buy it. eHow has instructions here. There are many companies who sell them at fairly reasonable price. Google earthquake safety kits and you’ll see many options. What ever you do, rotate your supplies frequently. Rotate the food and water and batteries every few months. Have cash handy since ATM’s will likely not be working and cash will be king during an emergency. If you can afford it, stow $100 somewhere that you can reach easily.
It’s also a good idea to stow an extra pair of shoes and warm jackets in the truck of your car along with a smaller version of the kit. We never know what time of day, or night, a quake can strike and it’s important to be able to survive. Keep a blanket in your car, too.
Have a safety plan in place for your family if you are not together when it happens. Who will be the telephone point person that everyone can check in with? Make that person someone who doesn’t live locally. Be sure to have some kind of charger for your cell phones, too. Phones may be down and if you only use a cell phone text people your whereabouts. Check what your school safety plan is now that the kids are back in school.
We don’t know if the South Napa quake is a precursor to our Big One. We know our area will be hit with another big quake, around 6.9 or more, which is how big the Loma Prieta quake was. This USGA map shows a comparison between the Napa quake and Loma Prieta and the areas the quake was felt. A 6.9 quake is 20 times greater than the one most of us felt yesterday. You can protect yourself and your family with simple items available at Home Depot. The biggest item and most important to install, is straps for bookcases and high cabinets than can tip over onto you or your floor. Get them and install them. Another simple one is call Earthquake Putty. A little ball of this putty under fragile items keeps them in place on the shelf (that you just secured to your wall). Museums use this all over California. It’s a fix under $5 and a package goes a long way. Use it. Finally the other inexpensive fix is those child safety hooks on cabinets. Install them on your kitchen cabinets where dishes, glasses and canned foods are so those cabinet doors won’t open. If they can’t open they can’t spill out the contents on to the floor and make a mess!