Recent earthquakes in Montana and other states remind us we all need to be prepared. Quakes strike without warning, leaving little time to act. Do you have emergency supplies and a plan in place? What can you do to prepare for an earthquake? Take action now with these steps:
Secure your home
Check your home for earthquake hazards. FEMA has an informative poster you can download and use as an earthquake preparation checklist. This will help you secure items like water heaters, tall furniture, fixtures and more. If you own your home, assess your structure and enlist a professional to help you fix any weak areas.
Make an earthquake preparation kit
Use a portable container to stash emergency supplies like drinking water, nonperishable food, blankets and first-aid supplies. If the earthquake is severe, you could be cut off from emergency assistance for several days. Create a kit for each car you own.
Make an emergency plan
The next way to stay safe during an earthquake is to create an emergency plan. You may not all be together when an earthquake happens, so talk with your family members about where to go in the event of an emergency. Have an evacuation plan in place that includes possible safe spots in different directions since you won’t know which routes are navigable. Designate an out-of-state contact person whom everyone knows how to reach in the event cell communication is disabled and you are unable to connect with each other. This FEMA guide will help you create a family emergency communication plan you can share and practice.
Prepare for your pets
Pets are members of the family too. Prepare a ready-to-go animal emergency pack. Many shelters don’t accept pets other than service animals, so review lists of hotels that are pet-friendly in the event you must evacuate. Place stickers on your windows so emergency responders know you have pets. Make sure your pets wear proper identification and current tags at all times. Having current photos of your pet handy on your phone will be helpful if they go missing and you need to alert others.
Know how to stay safe indoors
Practice DROP, COVER, HOLD ON. If you’re indoors during an earthquake, stay there. As soon as you sense shaking, drop to your hands and knees so you aren’t knocked off balance. Cover your head and neck. If possible, crawl under a sturdy table or get near an interior wall. Hold on to whatever you’re using for shelter. Be mindful of furniture that could fall on you. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers additional tips for specific rooms.
Stay safe outdoors
If you’re outside when an earthquake starts, stay there. Do not try to get inside, and stay away from buildings. Avoid utility and fuel lines. Get to an open area and down on your hands and knees as soon as possible. Cover your head and neck. If you’re in a vehicle, stop safely and move to the side of the road, away from wires and under- or overpasses. Stay in your car and use the radio for emergency alerts.
Be attentive afterward
If your home or area has incurred damage, look for hazards like fires, gas leaks, exposed wiring and unstable structures that could cause further damage or injury. Just be careful of your surroundings because aftershocks are common.
We hope you never experience an earthquake, but if you do, your Farm Bureau agent will be there to assist in your time of need.