In light of the many recent earthquakes, including the tragic 9.0 temblor off the coast of Japan, the
February quake that shook Christchurch, New Zealand and the magnitude 8.8 that toppled Chile last year, a large majority of scientists are concerned the next big quake will hit home in California.
Although there is much speculation as to whether the next colossal Pacific Plate earthquake will indeed be California’s fate this coming year, it is imperative to plan ahead and be prepared for an earthquake, especially in this quake-prone state. Earthquakes strike suddenly and without warning. Identifying potential hazards in the home ahead of time can reduce possible traumas from violent tremors and lower the chance of injury or death.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency discloses ways to prepare a home or apartment to be earthquake-ready with some helpful precautions:
+ 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
+ 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. Seek 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.
+ Always have emergency supplies such as flashlights, batteries, a portable radio,
food and water, extra money and a first aid kit readily available.
+ Talk to roommates on move-in day about emergency plans, how to turn off all gas, electricity and water and develop an emergency communication plan each roommate is familiar with.
These steps, along with familiarizing oneself with earthquake hazards, are the best bet for reducing the chances of harm when and if an earthquake hits. For more information on earthquakes and how to prepare for other types of disasters, visit fema.gov.