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The recent earthquakes in California were the largest to hit the state in over 20 years, bringing increased awareness to the risk Californians and others living in quake-prone areas face. One message that has consistently popped up during the aftermath is how important it is for those living in these areas to be prepared for the next quake, or in California's case, the infamous, “big one”. Here are some simple ways your residents can start prepping today.

Secure Your Space

Make sure heavy furniture, such as bookshelves and dresses, are properly secured to the walls to reduce the chance of these items toppling over and causing injury. Secure other items such as televisions either to the wall or with straps if they’re sitting on top of furniture.

Protect Your House

Homes erected before 1980 were not built with the same safety standards as newer homes. Fortunately, older homes can be updated with a seismic retrofit. Retrofitting typically runs between $3,000 to $7,000, but that’s a small price to pay to protect one’s life savings.

Over 90% of homeowners in California lack quake coverage. Seeing the increased risk for a large, overdue quake, it’s worth having residents crunch the numbers to determine if it’s worth the risk not having this pricey coverage.

Utilize Technology

There are several apps that exist that can help residents prepare for earthquakes, including:

  • EQ Zapp allows residents to check whether their property is in an earthquake hazard zone.
  • ShakeAlertLA sends alerts about impending earthquakes up to a minute before they arrive.

After a quake occurs, texting is recommended over calling. Call towers are typically overwhelmed immediately after natural disasters, so text messages have a greater likelihood of going through.

Prep an Earthquake Kit

If a large quake were to hit, it could make it difficult for residents to gain access to clean water and food for several days. That’s why it’s recommended that those living in earthquake prone areas have nonperishable food set aside in case of a disaster. It’s critical to have water on hand as well. Typically, families should plan to have one gallon per person per day and have enough on hand for three days. Beyond food and water, emergency kits should include:

  • Manual can opener
  • First aid kit
  • Flashlight
  • Batteries
  • Pet supplies
  • Battery-operated radio
  • Pocket knife
  • Emergency cash in small denominations
  • Copies of important documents

Additional Items to Have on Hand

It’s not a bad idea for residents to have a pair of shoes, flashlight, and hammer by their bed in case a quake hits at night. One of the most common injuries after a quake are cut feet from walking on broken glass. Having a hammer will make it easier to break glass in case residents can’t exit through their front door.

Earthquake experts also recommend having extra tanks of propane so people can cook using gas grills, as well as backup generators in case the power is out for days. Finally, fires are one of the most common issues after an earthquake, so having a fire extinguisher on hand is highly recommended.

Does your community have an incident response plan in place? Download our free guide to create one for your community!