With recent seismic activity in the news lately, more and more people are finally thinking about what they would do if an earthquake hit a little closer to home. While some parts of the United States are seemingly immune to this particular natural disaster, it does serve as a reminder that everyone should be ready when a natural disaster strikes.
First and foremost, consider the possibility that an earthquake will strike where you live. Some parts of the country, such as California, are known to be at risk of this threat. In fact, scientists now agree that it is almost inevitable that a major earthquake will hit Southern California within the next thirty years. Other areas of the country may be more likely to experience a hurricane or tornado, but many of these same principles apply. Natural disaster preparedness must be a huge part of home security no matter where you live.
For those living in an earthquake zone, the first step is considering how your home is laid out. Do you have a heavy bookshelf full of thick books standing right next to your bed? If so, it may be wise to rearrange the room so that your bookshelf doesn't topple over onto your bed if an earthquake happens while you're sleeping. Remember, earthquakes can happen at any time of the day, while you're anywhere in the home or even away from the house.
Another part of earthquake safety and home security comes in having an adequately stocked earthquake kit, including food, water clothing, first aid supplies, and medications for the whole family. Other essentials include flashlights, radios, and batteries. Another category of supplies often overlooked by those building an earthquake kit are the supplies you may need to make your home inhabitable in the aftermath of a major disaster. Items such as tarps can be invaluable if your home has sustained structural damage.
In addition to the kit, you will also need a plan of action. What do you do during the earthquake? Where should you go afterwards? Locate a safe place outside your home to meet your family after the shaking stops, and determine where you might go if your home is unsafe after the quake. Install smoke alarms and purchase a fire extinguisher; many earthquakes do cause fires.
When an earthquake strikes, move to the strongest, safest part of the home, away from heavy objects, windows, or chimneys. Safe places tend to be standing in a door frame or crouching against a wall or under a very sturdy piece of furniture. Brace yourself, and watch out for falling objects. After the shaking has stopped, check to make sure everyone in the building is safe, administer first aid if necessary, and turn off the gas and water if there is any chance of a leak. Stay away from downed power lines and avoid using the phone unless necessary.
Another critical consideration in the aftermath of an earthquake is home security. The police will probably be spending their time responding to reports of people trapped in buildings and other immediate threats. They will not be paying so much attention to whether there are people lurking around your home or business, trying to take shelter or loot your wares.
Remember, there may be significant structural damage compromising the integrity of the building. The power may also be out for an extended period of time, which can be scary even if not in the aftermath of a major disaster. To increase your feeling of security, use battery-powered door and window alarms and arm your family members with pepper spray or other self defense devices.