How to “Plan to be Safe” Before the Next Disaster

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Important Safety Advice in Advance of the October 17 Great ShakeOut

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The ability to survive and recover from a major earthquake will depend on the amount of planning each Californian does in advance— would you know how to contact a loved one after the next quake strikes?

Plan to be safe (Step Two of the “Seven Steps to Earthquake Safety”) by communicating with your family and neighbors now about what to do during and immediately following an earthquake. “The Great ShakeOut,” scheduled for October 17 at 10:17 a.m. provides an opportunity to review essential plans and preparations, which should be a part of everyone’s life in earthquake country.

The Great ShakeOut is four weeks away and 8.3 million Californians and have already registered at http://www.ShakeOut.org to practice the annual “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” drill.

Plan to be safe by creating a disaster plan and deciding how you will communicate in an emergency. FEMA and the American Red Cross offer great suggestions for planning for disasters. Here are aspects to consider when planning for earthquakes:

  •     Identify safe spots in every room, such as under sturdy desks or tables, or on the ground next to an interior wall away from windows and things that may fall.
  •     Earthquakes can start fires, so store a fire extinguisher where it can be easily accessed, and learn how to use it (P.A.S.S. - Pull, Aim, Squeeze, Sweep).
  •     People often cut their feet during or after earthquakes when they get out of bed and walk barefoot on broken glass or other fallen objects. To keep shoes and a flashlight within reach, put them in a bag and tie it to your bed frame or headboard.
  •     Access to making long distance phone calls is usually restored first. Choose someone who lives out of the area for everyone in your family to report their status, then learn how to Text First, Talk Second from ShakeOut partner Safe America Foundation.
  •     If you are a person with a disability or need extra help, include your personal support network in your plan and visit EarthquakeCountry.org/disability for a variety of resources.
  •     Find out if you live, work or play in a tsunami zone and make sure everyone knows how to get to higher ground if necessary. Californians can see if they are at risk for tsunami, earthquake, fire and flood hazards by visiting visit http://MyHazards.CalEMa.ca.gov/.

For more about how to plan to be safe, go to EarthquakeCountry.org/step2.

The Earthquake Country Alliance, a partnership of California science, emergency management, preparedness and many other types of organizations, has created “The Seven Steps to Earthquake Safety” (EarthquakeCountry.org/sevensteps) to help people prepare to survive and recover after the next damaging earthquake.

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 for the public and media at the ShakeOut and Earthquake Country Alliance websites. Join the conversation with the Great California ShakeOut on Facebook and Twitter.

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D'Anne Ousley

Lance Webster

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