Disaster Preparedness Month, night 4: In case of earthquake

On this 4th night of Disaster Preparedness Month, yet another big quake reminds us that we’re in Quake Country too: The 7.2 quake that rocked northern Mexico and Southern California (Twitpic at left). You’ve heard a lot about what you should do to prepare for quakes – and we’ll take a closer look at some of those specifics later in the month – but you don’t always hear a lot about “what to do WHEN one hits.” OK, maybe you’ve heard “go stand in a doorway” – what if there’s not one nearby? And what if you’re outside, or in a car? FEMA has a short four-part list of tips – take two minutes and read it right now. (You can even scroll down and take a pop quiz afterward.) Next step, the one we’re going to mention every one of this month’s 30 nights: Know your nearest Emergency Communication Hub. If a major quake (or other type of disaster) takes out communication/utility infrastructure, that’s where you’d go to find out what’s going on and how to get help. (The Hubs map is part of the West Seattle Be Prepared website, the subject of our DPM Night 1 advice; on Night 2, the important docs to store safely; on Night 3, picking an out-of-state relative/friend whose number is carried by everyone in your family, for check-in purposes.) Any particular preparedness topic you feel confused/under-informed about? Just mention it so we can be sure to hit it as the month goes on – local volunteers are plugged into an amazing wealth of information and resources. Oh, and join the West Seattle Be Prepared Facebook group too – you’ll find an interesting quake-info link there, just a few updates down the page!)

7 Replies to "Disaster Preparedness Month, night 4: In case of earthquake"

  • Carol April 5, 2010 (8:27 am)

    West Seattle Blog–you guys rock! So impressed by the Preparedness Hub website. Bravo!

    • WSB April 5, 2010 (8:37 am)

      We’ll always take kind words but we didn’t put that site together – it is a project of the talented Karen Berge and Deb Greer team, with support from local preparedness volunteers, and we are privileged to be in the loop on all this so we can help make sure people know about it. Because of the big team – multiple neighborhood reps – working on the Communication Hubs, for example, West Seattle is WAY ahead in the preparedness game – but everybody’s gotta do their part. P.S. Be sure to join the FB group:

  • Steph in WS April 5, 2010 (12:30 pm)

    I don’t agree with standing in a door way in a good size quake. I stood in my bedroom door way for the ’89 Cali quake and the door slammed back and forth hitting my fingers. Not fun. Think I’ll just dive under something.
    BTW, I was at LAX on Sunday and felt that pretty darn good.

  • homedk April 5, 2010 (5:58 pm)

    @Steph — you are correct that standing in a doorway during an earthquake is no longer recommended here in the US, although years ago that is what people were taught. Our building codes have improved since then & specialists have had the benefit of seeing how buildings performed during earthquakes and have adjusted their recommendations.
    The FEMA link above has a good list of precautions to take if you are caught in an earthquake; standing in a doorway is only recommended if there isn’t a better option.
    If you are outside the US during an earthquake, be aware that the recommended precautions may different than here. The general rule is to follow the “Drop, Cover & Hold” method in areas that have up-to-date building codes.

  • James Day April 6, 2010 (10:24 am)

    I recently went through a SNAP earthquake light search and rescue training. I would like to contact people in the Morgan junction area who are trained or interested in creating a network of volunteers who would be able to respond. Please leave a note here if you have suggestions.


    • WSB April 6, 2010 (2:17 pm)

      JD – there are existing efforts already, with one of the leading area organizers actually IN Morgan Junction – good place to connect is the Facebook group we have been mentioning – you could post on its wall:

  • Cindi Barker April 6, 2010 (11:39 pm)

    JD, feel free to contact me about Morgan Junction information directly at cbarker@qwest.net. We could certainly use help building a great network!

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