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Earthquake Preparation Made Easy

An earthquake is the sudden and often violent release of pressure that has built up at the fault line. When the pressure is large enough to overcome the friction existing between the tectonic plates an earthquake occurs. There are two types of earthquakes that have been identified: thrust and slip quakes.

Thrust quakes occur when the pressure between two plates is discharged as one tectonic plate pushes up and over the other plate. In a slip quake, however, the pressure between plates is released by a sideways motion. Slip quakes are often characterized by a visible rift that is formed between plates after the earthquake has happened.

A dangerous aspect of earthquakes is earthquake liquefaction, which is often referred to merely as liquefaction, and is the process by which saturated, unconsolidated soil or sand is transformed into a suspension during an earthquake. In other words, the soil begins acting as a thick liquid. The real hazard of liquefaction is that whatever is situated on top of the soil, as the earthquake is occurring, falls apart, or sinks instantly.

Earthquakes have been conventionally measured by the Richter scale. This scale is logarithmic in nature, which means that a quake measuring 6.0 on the scale is ten times more powerful than a 5.0 quake. The smallest and just noticeable earthquakes range between 3.0-4.0 on the Richter scale, which result in little to no damage and no loss of life. However, quakes with intensities of 5.0 and above can cause varying amounts of damage and loss of life, depending on the location and duration of the earthquake.

Most quakes happen with little or no warning, unlike most disasters. Predicting when the next major earthquake will occur with accuracy is almost impossible. Luckily, colossal earthquakes rarely occur, but they do happen. Therefore, you have to make viable plans in advance to be able to quickly respond to ensure you and your family's safety.

How to prepare for an earthquake

Initial quake preparation involves mainly securing heavy objects in their places prior to a quake, quake proofing your utilities, and quake proofing your home altogether. In addition, knowing how to find a safe location (where to stand and where not to) during an earthquake, knowing how to evacuate and where to go after an earthquake has occurred is just as important. Last but not least, an essential and integral part of earthquake preparation can also include getting earthquake insurance in order to have the funds available to you should you survive an earthquake and need to repair a severely damaged property. To find the best earthquake insurance for your home, search online for the best provider using the following terms: earthquake insurance quote, earthquake insurance cost, earthquake insurance rates.

Below is a basic beginner's guide to getting ready for and responding to an earthquake:

1. Have an emergency plan for earthquakes ready (family members should also know about it). The plan must include a communications plan should family members be separated.

2. Prepare evacuation maps of your home and neighborhood. Be cognizant about potential hazards in your area.

3. Regularly run disaster drills. Hone skills for self protection, fire prevention, fire fighting, rescue, first aid, emergency reporting, evacuation, and more.

4. Have your evacuation kit(s) ready.

5. Secure furniture, TVs and personal computers firmly in place to keep them from moving or falling over. Set furniture in places so as not to cause injuries or hinder your escape. Place the heaviest objects, along with dangerous materials, in floor-level cabinets. Bolts will keep heavy furniture fixed up against the wall, as will Velcro installed at the corners. Place beds against the rooms' inner walls. To protect from spontaneous glass breakage, use safety films for your windows. Finally, secure your water heater.
6. Have your home inspected for earthquake safety. If necessary, reinforce concrete walls so they do no collapse. If you have a chimney, make sure it is securely attached to your home.

7.Install fire alarms in your home for early warning. To prevent electric or gas fires, install circuit breakers and/or outlets with a seismic shut-off function.

8. Identify safe places in each room (under sturdy furniture, against inside walls, away from glass).

9. If you are indoors as an earthquake is happening, take cover under a sturdy piece of furniture or against an indoor wall away from glass that might break. Stay absolutely inside your home, the most detrimental thing you can do during an earthquake is to try to escape. The most important thing to do following an earthquake is to evacuate the building until it is safe to come back.

10. On the other hand, if you are outdoors, try to move into the open, away from buildings, street lights, and overhead electrical wires. Remain on that spot until the rumbling stops.

11. If you have a pet, bear in mind that pets are generally not allowed in emergency shelters, so prepare an emergency kit that includes a couple of days supply of pet food and water.

12. If you ever find yourself trapped under rubble, be sure to keep the following in mind: Never light a match (there might be a gas leak); breathe through your nose to conserve water; never scream senselessly unless you hear people outside, you will conserve energy this way; try to sleep until earthquake relief arrives; never drink the water in your space, you don't know its source, it could be sewage water and you could die of dysentery before any other reason.

13. In the aftermath of the earthquake, do not assume just because water is flowing through the pipes that it is safe consumption. Wait for the local water authority to give the go ahead. If you have no means of finding out whether the water is safe, either boil it or sterilize it using water purification tablets.

We should never remain indifferent by the apparent dearth of earthquakes, it only does take one major quake to jolt us back to reality. It is best to remain prepared by using the guidelines above. To be better prepared, seek additional information, and keep abreast with the latest technologies for earthquake proofing your house. Stay safe!


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