How to Prepare Your Riverside Home for an Earthquake
A new study suggests that the Ridgecrest quakes have increased the chances of another big one occurring, this time in southern California. A big enough quake along the Garlock—magnitude 7.5 or bigger, by the researchers' calculations—could spark a quake along the San Andreas that travels southward toward Los Angeles. From National Geographic.
Take action now, before an earthquake hits.
• Secure items that might fall and cause injuries (e.g., bookshelves, mirrors, light fixtures).
• Practice how to Drop, Cover, and Hold On by participating in a ShakeOut earthquake drill (www.ShakeOut.org).
• Store critical supplies and documents.
• Plan how you will communicate with family members.
To prevent potential injuries, take the time to secure your space. Secure items that might fall, fly, or slide in an earthquake (see www.earthquakecountry.org/step1). Imagine if the room was picked up and shaken up and down and side to side and then determine what items would be thrown around. Periodically review the locations where you spend time—your home, workplace, or school—to look for potential hazards and secure them.
DO A HAZARD HUNT FOR POTENTIAL HAZARDS AND THINGS THAT MIGHT FALL
1. Cabinet doors can fly open allowing contents to crash to the floor; secure them with latches.
2. Objects such as framed photos, books, lamps, and other items that you keep on shelves and tables can become flying hazards. Secure them with hooks, adhesives, or earthquake putty to keep them in place. Move heavy or breakable items to lower shelves.
3. Mirrors, pictures frames, and other hanging items should be secured to the wall with closed hooks or earthquake putty. Do not hang heavy objects over beds, sofas, or any place you may be seated.
4. Electronics such as computers, televisions, and microwave ovens are heavy and expensive to replace. Secure them with flexible nylon straps.
5. Bookcases, filing cabinets, china cabinets, and other tall furniture should be anchored to wall studs, (not drywall), or masonry. Use flexible straps that allow them to sway without falling to the floor.
6. Secure your water heater, refrigerator, and other major appliances with the appropriate straps screwed into the wall studs or masonry to help keep them from falling over and rupturing gas or electric connections. Gas appliances should have flexible connectors to absorb the shaking while reducing the risk of fire.
ASSEMBLING EMERGENCY SUPPLIES Take the time now to collect the emergency supplies you would need if the power was out, water supplies were cut off, and grocery stores were not open. You can build your supplies over time by adding a few items as your budget permits. Basic emergency supplies should include the following, most of which you probably already have in your home.
WATER – Ensure you have at least 1 gallon of water per person per day for at least 3 days. (Store a longer than 3-day supply of water, if possible). An average person needs to drink about 3/4 of a gallon of fluid daily. Individual needs vary depending on age, gender, health, level of activity, food choices, and climate. You may also need stored water for food preparation.
FOOD – Store at least a 3-day supply of non-perishable food for members of your household, including pets. Consider special dietary needs (e.g., infant formula). Include a non-electric can opener for canned food.
FLASHLIGHT, RADIO, and CELL PHONE CHARGER – You will need to be able to charge these items without electricity. Your flashlight and radio should be either hand-cranked or battery-powered, and stored with extra batteries. Your cell phone charger should be hand-crank, solar, or able to be charged from a car outlet.
MEDICAL – Include first aid kit, prescription and non-prescription/over-the-counter medications, and medical supplies.
SANITATION – Pack supplies for sanitation, such as hand sanitizer, towelettes, paper products, and plastic bags, for use when water resources are limited.
ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY – Include battery backup power for power-dependent mobility devices, oxygen, and other assistive technology needs.
CLOTHING AND BLANKETS – Ensure you have clothing with long sleeves and long pants, thick-soled shoes, and work gloves to protect yourself after the earthquake, and a sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person, if you live in a cold-weather climate.
WHISTLE – Include a whistle to signal for help.
CASH – Store cash in case ATMs are not functioning after the earthquake.
FIRE EXTINGUISHER – Earthquakes can cause fires to break out; have a fire extinguisher so you can put out any small fires. Use a fire extinguisher only if you are physically capable.
Consider storing supplies in several locations if possible. This means having basic supplies of food and water in locations, including your workplace, your vehicle, and, if possible, other places you and members of your household regularly spend time (e.g., house of worship, community center, and school). It is important to consider the unique needs of your family, including access and functional needs, and the needs of children and pets. You may need to include: extra water; special food, such as infant formula or pet food; and supplies or equipment, such as diapers, glasses, or medical equipment. Download Emergency Supply Checklist at www.ready.gov/build-a-kit.
DEVELOP A COMMUNICATIONS PLAN Your family may not be together when an earthquake hits, so it is important to know how you will contact one another and how you will get back together in case of an emergency. Landline and cellular phone systems are often overwhelmed following a disaster, so you may need to use text messaging or social media to communicate with family and friends. Keep important numbers written down in your wallet in case you cannot access the contact list in your phone. For more information, including a sample household communications plan, visit www.ready.gov/make-a-plan.
Check with your insurance agent regarding coverage for earthquakes. Most likely your normal homeowners policy will not cover damage from earthquake. It might cover if the earthquake caused a fire, then damage from the fire would be covered.
Should you experience damage from an earthquake, SERVPRO can inspect for FREE. Keep us in mind for those unexpected disasters, and be prepared.
SERVPRO of West Riverside City
"We are Faster to Any Size Disaster"