Earthquake preparedness tips from Fulton County Emergency Management

You may have noticed, with the recent reports of “booming noises” across our area in the past month, that many are discussing the possibilities of
“The Big One” .  Well, you just can’t predict earthquakes, but you can be prepared for it.

Earthquakes strike suddenly, violently and without warning. Identifying potential hazards ahead of time and advance planning can reduce the dangers of serious injury or loss of life from an earthquake. Repairing deep plaster cracks in ceilings and foundations, anchoring overhead lighting fixtures to the ceiling, and following local seismic building standards, will help reduce the impact of earthquakes.

Five Ways to Plan Ahead

1) Check for Hazards in the Home

* Fasten shelves securely to walls.

* Place large or heavy objects on lower shelves.

* Store breakable items such as bottled foods, glass, and china in low, closed cabinets with latches.

* Hang heavy items such as pictures and mirrors away from beds, couches, and anywhere people sit.

* Brace overhead light fixtures.

* Repair defective electrical wiring and leaky gas connections. These are potential fire risks.

* Secure a water heater by strapping it to the wall studs and bolting it to the floor.

* Repair any deep cracks in ceilings or foundations. Get expert advice if there are signs of structural defects.

* Store weed killers, pesticides, and flammable products securely in closed cabinets with latches and on bottom shelves.


2) Educate Yourself and Family Members

Contact your local emergency management office for more information on earthquakes. Teach children how and when to call 911, police, or fire department and which radio station to tune to for emergency information. Teach all family members how and when to turn off gas, electricity, and water.


3) Have a Basic Emergency Survival Kit prepared:

* Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days

* Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food

* Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both

* Flashlight and extra batteries.

* First aid kit and manual.

* Whistle to signal for help

* Non-electric can opener.

* Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities

* Essential medicines.

* Cash and credit cards.

* Sturdy shoes.

* Cell phone and chargers


4) Identify Safe Places Indoors and Outdoors

* Under sturdy furniture such as a heavy desk or table.

* Against an inside wall.

* Away from where glass could shatter around windows, mirrors, pictures, or where heavy bookcases or other heavy furniture could fall over.

* In the open, away from buildings, trees, and telephone and electrical lines, over passes, or elevated expressways.


5) Develop an Emergency Communication Plan

In case family members are separated from one another during an earthquake (a real possibility during the day when adults are at work and children are at school); develop a plan for reuniting after the disaster. Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as the “family contact.” After a disaster, it’s often easier to call long distance. Make sure everyone in the family knows the name, address, and telephone number of the contact person.

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