As we know, Southern Californians are very familiar with earthquakes but over the last week, anxieties were particularly heightened due to a swarm of seismic activity in the Salton Sea area that prompted scientists to predict an elevated risk in the SoCal area.
Earthquakes are one of the most common, unpredictable occurrences on Earth. There is always the chance of one, but there is no way of predicting or giving any warning to when it may occur. Therefore, quake preparedness is essential. If you're a homeowner be sure to call your insurance agent and put an "Earthquake” insurance policy in place as standard home/condo/renters policies may NOT cover earthquakes.
Strap it down
- Be sure to secure items that could fall and cause injuries. Put straps on all television, paintings, appliances, furniture and bookshelves.
- Install safety latches on cabinets to keep kitchen utensils and appliances from toppling on you.
- Secure or remove anything that could fall on your bed like heavy frames or books.
- Affix a safety film to windows that will leave shattered glass in place.
- Make sure your gas heater is secured to the wall. Consider installing automatic valve that shuts off when shaking arrives, reducing the risk of broken gas line that could potentially cause a fire. At the very least, learn how to shut off your gas manually.
- Get a fire extinguisher or two. Make sure everyone at home knows how to use them.
Nina Quidit cleans up the Dollar Plus and Party Supplies Store on August 24 in American Canyon, California after the earthquake wreaked havoc on the store's shelves.(CNN.com/Holly Yan and Joshua Berlinger)
Practice how to "Drop, Cover and Hold"
DROPto the ground (before the earthquake drops you!),
TakeCOVERby getting under a sturdy desk or table, and
See if your home needs a retrofit. The last thing you want is for your house to slide off in an earthquake. Hire a foundation specialist to inspect and make sure there are no visible signs of weakness in your foundation. Plus, a retrofit job now could head off a costly repair after an earthquake.
A house in Fillmore sits askew six months after the 1994 Northridge earthquake. (Joe Pugliese / Los Angeles Times)
Stock up on supplies!
- Store critical supplies like water, canned goods, medicines, first aid kits and anything else you'd need for one to two weeks, and maybe longer. Be sure to have enough for you and your pets.
- Keep a full tank of gas in your car because a power outage will make it very hard to get fuel.
- Be sure to keep enough cash on hand in case ATM's and banks are inaccessible.
Pedestrians stop to examine a crumbling facade at the Vintner's Collective tasting room in Napa on August 2014. (Holly Yan and Joshua Berlinger, CNN.com)
Family emergency communication plan
Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to plan together in advance.
Consider the following questions when making a plan:
There are some people who have not purchased homes because they are un
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