Earthquake: Tips to Protect Your Family

If you live in Missouri or Illinois, whether you know it or not, you live on an earthquake fault line. While we have not had any major tremors or other earthquake activity during the last 50 years, the possibility exists and is very real. Preparation is key and should be an ongoing process for your family.

The Department of Homeland Security’s website offers a number of tips to help you prepare for an earthquake.

  • Create a disaster plan to protect you and your family.
  • Take steps to reduce the effects of ground movement. Houses built prior to 1945 should be retrofitted with foundation anchoring that secures the home by bolting the sill plate to the foundation. You also can wall-anchor furniture or appliances.
  • Store flammables in a cabinet and move heavier items to lower shelves.
  • Strap water heaters to adjacent walls or floors to prevent them from tipping over, which can cause breaks in gas or water lines during an earthquake.
  • Brace the cripple walls – walls less than a story in height found between the foundation and first floor of a building and made of weak sheathing materials – to help prevent wall movement during an earthquake.
  • Have a licensed plumbing contractor install seismic shut-offs: devices designed to shut off the gas supply to a house during a significant earthquake.
  • Use professional art-hangers to install artwork, so that each piece is properly secured to the structure to reduce the risk of damage during an earthquake.
  • Keep copies of your insurance policies and pictures/videos of your house and personal property either secure in a cloud account, or on a thumb drive stored with any other emergency supplies to be used after an event.
  • Indoors: Do not move more than a few feet, as items could fall and create a hazard. Stay near the interior of buildings away from windows, which can shatter.
  • Indoors: Do not try to escape a building during an earthquake because of the potential danger of falling debris.
  • Outdoors: Find a clear space away from trees and powerlines and drop to the ground until the shaking stops.
  • In a vehicle: Pull over to a clear location, stop and stay there — with your seatbelt fastened — until the shaking has stopped,
  • In a coastal area: Move to higher ground, as tsunamis are often created by earthquakes, and higher ground will keep you safest from the waves.

Web site: National Safety Council Earthquake Preparedness

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