Start by learning how to secure your space, step one of the seven steps to earthquake safety developed by the Earthquake Country Alliance (ECA) to help people prepare to survive and recover after the next damaging earthquake. A great way to put these steps into practice is to register for Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills at www.shakeout.org and get prepared with millions of others worldwide.
Most injuries in earthquakes are caused by falling or flying objects, and can be prevented or reduced by identifying these hazards in advance and securing moveable items. The following list includes free or low cost actions that people can do in one weekend, or perhaps one each week until done. This may involve asking others for help or borrowing tools and helping them in return, as well as assisting others in the community.
No cost suggestions:
o Move heavy or large items to the floor or low shelves.
o Move things that can fall on you away from where you spend a lot of time.
o Move heavy or unstable objects away from doors and escape routes._
Low cost suggestions:
o Secure a water heater to wall studs with two metal straps.
o Secure top-heavy furniture and appliances to wall studs.
o Hang mirrors and pictures on closed hooks.
o Secure computers and TVs with special straps.
o Prevent small items from falling by using museum putty or wax.
o Install latches on kitchen cabinets.
Most items listed above are available at local hardware stores, or at a special discount from ShakeOut partner ReadyAmerica.
A bit more work or cost:
o Use flexible connections where gas lines meet appliances (such as water heaters and ovens).
o Secure overhead light fixtures.
o Secure free-standing wood stoves or fireplace inserts.
These recommendations may also reduce injury or damage in other situations. For example, a recent report showed that unsecured TVs fall and injure children nationwide every day. So even if earthquakes are not common where you live or work, these suggestions are worthwhile to consider.
Visit Secure Your Space for more information, videos, instructions, and resources. The Beat the Quake game is also a fun way to learn how to secure your space.
The annual worldwide Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills (planned for Oct. 17 in most regions) and the www.shakeout.org website are designed to inform people at school, work and home about how to prepare to survive and recover quickly from the next damaging earthquake. Participation in the ShakeOut Drill is free and takes only a few minutes. Information about how participate is at the ShakeOut website.
”Don’t be left out of the ShakeOut,” urged Mark Benthien, director for outreach, Southern California Earthquake Center at the University of Southern California, and executive director, Earthquake Country Alliance. “It’s amazing to see how quickly this has become a worldwide movement,” said Benthien. “ShakeOut is a fun and easy way for people, organizations and communities in many regions to get prepared now, together, before the next major earthquake.”
ShakeOut began as a Southern California drill in 2008 and has since grown to include drills in more than 40 states and U.S. territories, along with participation in Canada, New Zealand, Japan, Italy, and many other countries. More than 20 million participants are expected to participate in 2013 (including 10 million in California) as part of the various ShakeOut Drills.
Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills are coordinated worldwide by the Southern California Earthquake Center with a broad network of local ShakeOut coordinators, with support from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, National Science Foundation, and U.S. Geological Survey. The Great California ShakeOut is organized by the Earthquake Country Alliance, which includes California Office of Emergency Services, U.S. Geological Survey, California Earthquake Authority, American Red Cross, and many other organizations.
Extensive information is available at the ShakeOut and Earthquake Country websites. Join the conversation with the Great California ShakeOut on Facebook (http://facebook.com/greatshakeout) and twitter (@shakeout).