We've had a wakeup (shakeup) call with some minor local earthquakes. However, they were far from the “big one” that seismic experts are warning (or as they say, "it’s not a matter of if, but when" it’s going to occur). Therefore, disaster preparedness is very critical (as an Eagle Scout, I’ll never forget the Boy Scout motto, “Be Prepared”). Disasters happen anytime and anywhere!
Here are some important things you can do to Prepare for the next Earthquake:
· Make sure each member of your family knows what to do, no matter where they are, when an earthquake strikes. Establish a meeting place where you can all reunite afterward. Find out about earthquake plans developed by your children’s school or day care center.
· Know where your gas, electric and water main shutoffs are and how/when to turn them off if there is a leak or an electrical short.
· Check for potential hazards in your home and workplace. Fasten shelves securely to walls. Place large or heavy objects on lower shelves. Store breakable items such as bottled foods, glass and dishes in low, closed cabinets with latches. Hang heavy items such as pictures and mirrors away from beds, couches and anywhere people sit. Fasten televisions and stereos to walls or cabinets. Brace overhead lighting fixtures. Store weed killers, pesticides and flammable products securely in closed cabinets with latches and on bottom shelves.
· Identify safe places indoors and outdoors (during earthquakes and resulting aftershocks). Indoors – under sturdy furniture (heavy desk or table), against an inside wall, away from where glass could shatter (windows, mirrors, pictures, televisions), or heavy bookcases, appliances or furniture that could fall over. The kitchen is one of the most dangerous places indoors. Stay away from stairs to avoid falling. Outdoors – stay away from buildings, chimneys, trees, utility poles/lines, light posts, signs or overpasses.
· Educate yourself and family members. Teach your children how and when to call 9-1-1 and which radio station to tune to for emergency information (e.g., KNX 1070, KFWB 980 and KABC 790). Teach all family members how and when to turn off gas, electricity and water (see below). Make sure everyone knows where your emergency supplies (see below) are stored.
· Talk to your neighbors on how you can assist each other after an earthquake.
· Take a Red Cross first aid and CPR training class. Also, take the Manhattan Beach Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training – see below.
When preparing for a possible emergency situation, including earthquakes, always think about the basics of survival: fresh water, food, clean air and warmth. Having an Emergency Supply Kit in your home, workplace and vehicles is essential.
Recommended items to include in a basic Emergency Supply Kit are as follows:
· Water - one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation. Change your water every six months.
· Food - at least a three day supply of non-perishable food (always select foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking and little or no water; avoid salty foods that will make you thirsty).
· Battery-powered (or hand-crank/solar) radio and extra batteries.
· Flashlight and extra batteries (or hand-crank).
· Whistle, to signal for help.
· Dust mask, to filter contaminated air.
· Plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place.
· Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation.
· Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities when necessary.
· Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food) and an all-purpose knife.
· Local maps and/or a GPS device.
· A hard-hat to protect against flying debris (typically from aftershocks).
· Leather work gloves and two pairs of latex gloves (or other sterile gloves if you are allergic to latex).
· First aid kit, which includes the following: sterile dressings to stop bleeding, a cleansing agent/soap and antibiotic towelettes to disinfect, antibiotic or burn ointment to prevent infection, adhesive bandages in a variety of sizes, scissors, tweezers, and an eye wash solution to flush the eyes or as general decontaminant.
· Prescription medications and glasses.
· Infant formula and extra diapers.
· Pet food and extra water for your pets (click here for pet disaster preparedness info).
· Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification, will, bank account records, important telephone numbers and immunization records in a waterproof, portable container.
· The “Envelope of Life” which contains important information about medical conditions, medications, allergies, etc.
· Cash (in small bills/change) and traveler's checks (ATMs and cash registers may be down during power outages).
· Emergency reference materials such as first aid and CPR books.
· Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person.
· Complete change of clothing including a long sleeved shirt, long pants, rain gear, and sturdy shoes.
· Fire extinguisher (ABC rated).
· Matches in a waterproof container.
· Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items/toiletries.
· Paper cups, plates, plastic utensils, and paper towels.
· Paper and pen or pencil.
· Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children.
After an Earthquake, there are certain things you should NOT do:
· Do not turn off the gas unless there is a leak (determined by smell or the gas meter is moving rapidly). It could be several days or weeks before the gas company may be able to restore service. If you turned off the gas, do not attempt to turn it back on yourself.
· Do not use matches, candles, lighters, electrical equipment or appliances until you are sure there are no gas leaks. They may create a spark that could ignite leaking gas and cause an explosion or fire.
· Do not use your telephone except for a medical or fire emergency. You could tie up the lines needed for emergency response.
· Do not enter buildings that appear to have major damage or structural problems. They could collapse, especially during aftershocks.
· Do not go near the ocean as there could be a potential tsunami (check for tsunami warning broadcasts: NOAA).
· Do not panic, stay calm (help will arrive)!
Specific Needs Voluntary Disaster Registry (SNAP): The Los Angeles County Office of Emergency Management has a confidential registry to facilitate the implementation of disaster response by first-responder agencies to Specific Needs persons (e.g., physical or mental disabilities; hearing, sight or speech impairments; cardiac/respiratory ailments; short-term disability conditions, etc.). To register, please visit: www.snap.lacounty.gov.
Register with the L.A. County Emergency Mass Notification System: You can register your cell phone number, e-mail address, and VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) phone number with the Alert L.A. County Emergency Mass Notification System at: http://portal.lacounty.gov/wps/portal/alertla. Listed and unlisted land line telephone numbers are already included in the database and do not need to be registered.
The Manhattan Beach Fire Department has a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program that trains residents to protect themselves, their family, friends, neighbors and their neighborhood in a community emergency such as an earthquake, explosion, fire, flood, tsunami, or act of terrorism. The training is also valuable for home and work emergencies such as accidents, heart attacks and stroke, as well as automobile collisions. As MBFD CERT members, we're prepared to be first responders until city emergency resources arrive and to assist them as needed.☆
For more information on disaster preparedness, please visit www.ready.gov and www.fema.gov. You can purchase excellent emergency supply kits at www.RedCross.org and www.MorePrepared.com. For information on the outstanding Manhattan Beach CERT program, please visit www.mbCERTa.org.
Citizens Helping Neighbors, and Our City
· Recent L.A. Area Earthquakes: Click here
· Hazards in Your Neighborhood: Click here
· Tsunami Inundation Safety Map: Click here
☞ Note: View a video of the Earthquake Safety/Preparedness Town Hall Meeting here: CityMB