Another small earthquake is Bluffdale Utah this morning, making this the 103rd one in just over a week. Yes, that number is correct…103. While this number doesn’t assure that a big earthquake is imminent, it has many of us concerned, which is resulting in very productive discussions about safety. And because I care about all of you, I’d like to offer my thoughts and suggestions for you to consider should we get “The Big One”.
Here is a simple plan from the American Red Cross:
Protecting your family
- Talk about earthquakes with your family so that everyone knows what to do in case of an earthquake. Discussing ahead of time helps reduce fear, particularly for younger children
- Check at your workplace and your children’s schools and day care centers to learn about their earthquake emergency plans.
- Pick safe places in each room of your home, workplace and/or school. A safe place could be under a piece of furniture or against an interior wall away from windows, bookcases or tall furniture that could fall on you.
- Practice DROP, COVER and HOLD ON in each safe place.
Locate the Gas Meter outside your house, (find it today). If your house has been damaged, or you smell gas, turn the valve on the meter 1/4 turn till the valve stops. You will need a wrench to do this. Your gas for the entire house is now off.
You should also have enough supplies for several days. A disaster of this size will tie up professionals. Don’t expect them to respond to you first.
Finally, expect that you will not be together as a family. It is likely that one member of the family will be home, the other at work, and kids at school. Create a plan for all of you. Assume that your cell phones will not work.
Your plan might be… For your kids, to follow the direction of the teachers at school. Have them stay with the leaders of the school for as long as it takes until you can get to them. This might be several days. Reassure your kids that this is the plan. There is comfort for them to know exactly what to do during this time.
For the family member at home, priority is keeping the house safe. Shut off the gas if necessary. If the house is too damaged, follow the neighbors to a safe location like a nearby school or church. There is safety in numbers. Stay together… When many minds think together, the best solutions will come to light.
For the family member at work, you might feel the urgent need to get home. Your safety is an important factor as well. Let your family know that it might be days before you can return. If they know this, you will not feel pressured to make a poor decision to try to get to them immediately. If you work 60 miles away, remember it takes 20 minutes to walk a mile… so your journey home would take you 20 hours to complete. If the weather conditions are cold and snowy, that journey could be more dangerous that the earthquake itself.
So, empower your family with the knowledge of what to do. Trust school and neighborhood leaders to keep your family safe. We live in a great state should there be an emergency, there will be many….many others looking out for one another. Help where you can, come together… and we will all increase our odds of making it through safely.