April 10, 2014
As a long time native of southern California, you've experienced quite a few earthquakes, most of them minuscule, perhaps one or two moderate ones here and there. But like many others living along the San Andreas Fault, you're anticipating what natives commonly refer to as “The Big One.”
Every mention of “The Big One” is usually accompanied by a solemn expression and a moment of foreboding silence. Just the very fact that it has a name and has become this inevitable event in people's minds makes it seem almost apocalyptic, like it's going to destroy everything we know and love. But many people have survived devastating earthquakes in the past. What was their secret?
It's no secret at all: the more you know, the better chances you'll have of surviving even the most destructive earthquake. In other words, knowledge is the key. Read on to learn some things that may end up saving your life in the future.
Preparing for an Earthquake
Make sure you have a good stock of emergency supplies, such as flashlights, first aid kits, bottled water, food, and other tools and necessities that you may need in a dire scenario. Lower the risk of injury by arranging your furniture and other objects in a smart manner; keep heavy objects close to the ground and store fragile items in secured cabinets and drawer shelves; stabilize and secure heavy appliances and furniture by anchoring them. Finally, learn how to turn off water, gas, and electricity in your building. These utilities may pose a hazard after an earthquake strikes.
What to Do During an Earthquake
If you are caught indoors, don't try to run outside. Instead, find a strong desk or table and hide under it. You may also take cover along an interior wall or any other strong structural point of the room. Cover your head and neck with your arms. Try not to be in the proximity of glass objects, windows, heavy furniture, heavy appliances, or fireplaces. Also, make sure the stove is turned off before you take cover.
If you are caught outdoors, make your way to a clear space fast. You don't want to be anywhere near buildings, power lines, and trees.
If you are driving when the earthquake strikes, stay calm and pull over. Do not stop on or under bridges and overpasses or near power lines and other large hazardous objects. Remain in your vehicle until help arrives.
What to Do After an Earthquake
Attend to any injuries immediately. Help other people around you if you are able. If you're indoors, inspect the building for damage; abandon it if you see any signs of instability. If you detect any gas leaks, air out the building and go outside. Turn the gas off if it's safe to do so; otherwise, call the gas company and the local fire department. Do not, I repeat, do not use any electrical appliances since even the smallest spark could ignite the gas and lead to catastrophe. If there are any electricity issues, such as sparks or frayed wires, avoid them completely and report to the electrical company.
At The Law Offices of Daniel E. Kann, we care for all of our neighbors here in southern California. We advise that you review this guide closely since it contains a lot of valuable information. Most of all, stay safe!