Earthquake Preparedness

HousebyCarmen

By Nate Gnau

Staff Writer

With all of the ground tumult that has been rocking the Pacific Islands this past few weeks, we here at The LC Bridge have been thinking about the New Madrid Fault, and what would happen here at home if it were to have any major movement, like the quake that’s rocked Japan as of late. While we won’t have the risk of tsunami like Japan has, things could get nasty. So what can you do to be ready for something like what’s happened to Japan & New Zealand? According to FEMA, their suggestions are as follow:

Check for Hazards at 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.

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, telephone and electrical lines, overpasses, or elevated expressways.

Educate Yourself and Family Members

· Contact your local emergency management office or American Red Cross chapter for more information on earthquakes. Also read the “How-To Series” for information on how to protect your property from earthquakes.
· Teach children how and when to call 9-1-1, 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.

Have Disaster Supplies in Hand

· Flashlight and extra batteries.
· Portable battery-operated radio and extra batteries.
· First aid kit and manual.
· Emergency food and water.
· Nonelectric can opener.
· Essential medicines.
· Cash and credit cards.
· Sturdy shoes.

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 phone number of the contact person.

Help your Community get ready

• Publish a special section in your local newspaper with emergency information on earthquakes. Localize the information by printing the phone numbers of local emergency services offices, the American Red Cross, and hospitals.
• Conduct a week-long series on locating hazards in the home.
• Work with local emergency services and American Red Cross officials to prepare special reports for people with mobility impairments on what to do during an earthquake.
• Provide tips on conducting earthquake drills in the home.
• Interview representatives of the gas, electric, and water companies about shutting off utilities.
• Work together in your community to apply your knowledge to building codes, retrofitting programs, hazard hunts, and neighborhood and family emergency plans.

Could another quake happen here in the St. Louis Metro Region? Possibly. Being in the New Madrid Seismic Zone, Anything’s possible. To say that the fault is dead or dying, would probably be an ignorant move. The fault itself registers at least one quake a day, but they’re so small that you can’t normally feel them. As of this writing, there was a 3.2 magnitude quake in Oklahoma this morning, March 11, at 4am, and 4 more of lesser magnitude in Southeastern Missouri in the past week, all according to the United States Geological Survey(USGS).
Please don’t take this as saying there absolutely will be a quake. Because we don’t know. We don’t mean to alarm, only to inform.