Living near a faultline can be scary, or at least it is for me. They’re uncommon in many parts of France, but here in Los Angeles, you’ll experience an earthquake sooner or later for sure. Scientific predictions of when the next “big one” might occur never seem to be trustworthy, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be prepared. Here are a few things I know I’ll be doing “just in case.”
First, I like to know exactly where I’ll go if the worst happens. If an earthquake starts while at home, it’s best to take cover under a strong piece of furniture. Stop what you’re doing, drop to the floor, find cover, and put your arms over the top of your head.
If there is a building collapse and you can’t get out, you should know what to do. Rescuers will be looking for signs of life, so your earthquake preparation kit should include a few. Flashlights, headlamps, and extra batteries are must-have items. If trapped, periodically knock in order to let others know where you are. Be careful not to make the collapse worse.
Speaking of a preparation kit, it should include several obvious items: food, water, extra blankets. Make sure you have enough supplies to last a couple of weeks. Glow-sticks can come in handy. Be careful with candles. Include a first-aid kit, and don’t forget tools. Last but not least, make sure you have a wad of extra cash.
It’s also not a bad idea to learn appropriate first-aid skills. You might not need them for an earthquake, but sooner or later there will come a time when they come in handy. Learn CPR. Find a local Red Cross station. They usually provide classes on a regular basis to show you how to deal with these situations safely.
After an earthquake, search for potential problems with your home. Is the gas leaking? Are there newly exposed wires? Make sure you know how to quickly disconnect the right utilities at the right time. It could save your life.