Earthquakes can happen anywhere, but some areas of the United States have more risk of experiencing one. There are an estimated 20,000 earthquakes in the US each year, most of which are too small to be felt, as reported by the National Earthquake Information Center.
For example, if you live in California, Missouri, or the Pacific Northwest, you are more likely to face earthquakes than in other parts of the country. However, it's important to be prepared no matter where you live.
This blog post will provide tips on reducing the risk of earthquake damage.
Identifying earthquake risk
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) provides maps that show earthquake hazard zones based on seismic activity data from past events. These maps can help you identify the risk of earthquakes in your area. If you live in a high-risk area, it's worth investing in earthquake-proofing measures for your home or business building.
Preparing your home
Before you can earthquake-proof your home, you'll need to do some prep work. This includes:
- Inspecting your home for potential earthquake damage. Look for cracks in walls, ceilings, or floors; loose or broken bricks; leaning chimneys; cracked windowsills and doors (especially ones with glass panes); water leaks around pipes or faucets; and other signs that indicate structural problems that could worsen during an earthquake.
- Securing furniture and appliances against movement during an earthquake by anchoring them securely into place using straps, cables, etc.
- Reinforcing walls with braces made from wood planks nailed securely onto studs behind drywall panels.
For earthquake preparedness, create or buy an emergency kit. This should include food, water, and other supplies for at least three days.
Ensure that the items are stored where they won't be damaged by earthquakes or other disasters (e.g., flood waters). You should also stock up on supplies like batteries, flashlights, and extra phone chargers to have them on hand if there's ever an emergency at home or work.
Creating an emergency plan
Having an emergency plan for your family is one of the most basic steps to reduce damage and risk.
An earthquake will likely be unexpected, so it's important to know where each family member will go home, school, work, or somewhere else when an earthquake strikes.
You should also identify safe locations in all house rooms, including bathrooms with no windows; bedrooms without dressers or tall furniture; hallways on lower floors; stairwells without glass windows; laundry rooms without washers/dryers.
Protecting your property
- Create an inventory of your property. This can be a valuable tool to help you determine what items are worth protecting and how much they're worth.
- Create an emergency fund. It's essential to have enough money saved so that if disaster strikes, such as earthquake-related structural damage or flooding from broken pipes or sewer lines, you can pay for repairs before they become more expensive than necessary.
During an earthquake
- Drop to the ground.
- Cover your neck and head with one arm, and protect your eyes.
- Hold on to any sturdy piece of furniture until the shaking stops. If no furniture is nearby, find another structure that can support your weight and preferably not collapse. Stay away from windows and exterior walls during an earthquake--they are more likely to break than interior walls are.
After an earthquake
The most important thing to do is check for injuries after an earthquake and ensure everyone is safe. If there are any injuries, seek medical attention immediately.
After ensuring everyone is okay, assess the damage to your home or building. If it's not safe to stay there anymore, for example, if there's a gas leak, leave immediately and go somewhere else until an official has told you it's okay to return home.
Take photos of all damaged areas so they can be used by insurance companies when filing claims later on. This will help speed up the process of getting reimbursed by insurance companies.
Earthquake myths and misconceptions
Unfortunately, many myths and misconceptions about earthquakes can lead to confusion and even endanger people. Check out some of the most common ones:
Myth: Animals can predict earthquakes.
Fact: While there have been anecdotal reports of animals behaving strangely before earthquakes, no scientific evidence supports the idea that animals can predict earthquakes.
Myth: Standing in a doorway is the safest place during an earthquake.
Fact: Doorways are not necessarily the safest place during an earthquake. In modern buildings, doorways are no more robust than any other structure part and may not protect against falling objects.
Myth: Earthquakes only happen on the surface of the earth.
Fact: Earthquakes can occur anywhere within the earth's crust, from shallow depths to several hundred kilometers below the surface.
Myth: Earthquakes only happen during certain times of the day or year.
Fact: Earthquakes can happen at any time of the day or year, and there is no way to predict when they will occur.
Myth: You should always try to outrun an earthquake.
Fact: Running during an earthquake can be dangerous, as the ground can shake violently and cause you to lose your balance. During an earthquake, it is best to go to the ground, find a substantial piece of furniture to hide beneath, and hang on until the shaking stops.
Myth: Earthquakes are always preceded by a loud noise.
Fact: While earthquakes can sometimes be accompanied by a loud rumbling or shaking sound, they can occur silently and without warning.
It is important to be informed about earthquakes and to separate fact from fiction. By understanding the true nature of earthquakes and the best safety practices, we can better protect ourselves and our communities in an earthquake.
No matter where you live, it's vital for every family to be prepared for earthquakes. Follow the tips outlined in this blog post to reduce the risk of damage and ensure that you and your family are safe during and after an earthquake.
Remember to stay informed about seismic activity in your area and take necessary action to protect your home and loved ones.
Make sure you're always ClimaGuard ready! For more disaster preparedness tips, visit our blog site.