It’s been 5 years since the Fukushima disaster in Japan when a huge earthquake caused a catastrophic tsunami that hit a nuclear power plant, resulting in an even grater disaster.
The magnitude of the earthquake exceeded any kind of forecasts or estimations. Nobody had expected such a disaster. The ensuing tsunami wiped out the coastal areas of Japan and destroyed the Fukushima nuclear power plant.
This turned out to be one of the largest nuclear disasters in recorded history and the damage is barely contained even after all these years. Even with Japan’s long earthquake history and its infrastructure, the situation was very difficult to handle.
The reactors were cooled down and sealed eventually. However, a huge amount of radioactive material was dumped into the Pacific Ocean in the mean time.
Earthquakes are very hard, if not impossible to predict. This makes prepping for an earthquake a very difficult and important task. The truth is you never know when or where one is going to hit next, and what will the repercussions be. Since you don’t get any prior warning, it’s tremendously important to always be ready for such a disaster and start prepping.
One of the most important factors in prepping for earthquakes is location. This refers to the geological composition of the land on which the house is built. If your house is built on soil that has a higher concentration of sand, any earthquake will be felt more violently. Sandy areas tend to become liquid during earthquakes, making them much more disruptive. As the violent tremors make underground waters rise up, the soil get’s muddy and unstable. Depending on its composition and the strength of the tremors, the land could swallow your house, car or even large areas of the freeway. The first thing you should do in prepping for earthquakes is to find out the composition of the land around your house and assess its safety.
There is never a right time for an earthquake. However, most earthquakes happen early in the morning or late at night, when most people are sleeping. That is also when people are most vulnerable. Imagine you have to wake up in the darkest morning hour to a shaking floor and horrible cracking sounds. There’s furniture and glass flying all over the place and a deep roaring sound in the background. You can’t see a thing, you can’t distinguish any sounds and it’s impossible to even stand, let alone walk in a straight line. All of your senses are numb and you can barely coordinate to move to a safer spot.
The first thing you should learn is how to react safely to such a threat. You will have to keep your cool and avoid panicking in order to quickly assess the situation. You will only have a few seconds to decide on an action plan once the earth starts shaking, so a little foresight goes a long way. The first thing you need to decide is if it’s safer to stay where you are and adjust your position, or to look for another cover. As part of your prepping, work on the habit of identifying safe spots in every room you enter. You can practice quake drills with your family, employees or group. This will help develop a natural subconscious habit of looking for safe spots whenever you enter a room or a building. The best part is that it doesn’t really take much skill. The basic principle is to drop, cover and stay put until it’s all over. It may seem simple, but you would be surprised how many people simply freeze in terror in a SHTF situation. Ignoring these threats and deciding not to prep is a sure way to panicking and not being able to respect the simplest most basic safety procedures that anybody can understand.
As a general rule, the safest places are either under a sturdy table or against an interior wall. Always make sure that you keep away from windows that may break and injure you or furniture that might fall on you. Work on developing the habit of noticing the safest escape routes whenever you enter a building or a room.
Earthquakes usually have aftershocks that can be stronger or weaker in magnitude. If you ever get the possibility, try getting out of the building and get to the middle of the street. However, don’t rush it. Getting out of cover will put you at risk, should an aftershock strike. Statistics say that most people who get injured or die during earthquakes, are the ones who try to move between locations or to leave the building.
If you manage to go outside, be very cautious to flying debris. There could be bricks, glass shards and even more dangerous objects falling everywhere. If you’re in a place where there’s a lot of potential flying debris, it would be much safer to stay inside until the shaking stops. If you manage to get outside or were there in the first place, make sure that you stay clear of tall objects. Keep an eye out for buildings, power lines and streetlights that could fall down and hit you. If you are in a car when the tremors start, stop as quickly as possible and don’t leave the vehicle. Make sure that you don’t stop next to trees, buildings, near utility wires or under bridges.
Even with all these safety precautions, there is a high probability that you’ll get stuck under debris. You might not make it out in time or things could collapse and you should definitely be prepared for this. In such a situation, whatever you do, don’t light a match, especially if you’re in a city. Wait for help to arrive, conserve your energy as best as you can and save your voice. Instead of shouting, try tapping on a pipe and try covering your mouth with a handkerchief or a piece of clothing to breathe more easily. Having a phone beneath all that debris could help you. However, GSM network usually fail in an earthquake disaster.
You should consider taking CPR and First Aid classes anyway, as part of your prepping. Make sure that you always have an earthquake kit available. You can purchase such a kit or make one yourself. It should contain basic survival items, such as food, water, dry clothes, matches, cash and any other items you might deem absolutely necessary. Be careful not to pack too much though. You don’t want it to weigh you down.
Make sure that you have stored enough food and water in your house. You should have enough to last you for a week or even two. Use only foods with a long shelf life, such as canned or dried goods. Make sure you’ve got a water supply. The best choice would be to have a water filter and some purification tablets. You should also consider getting a crank flashlight, medications, personal hygiene items, a battery-powered radio, some clothing, sleeping bags and whatever tools you consider necessary.
Get used to turning off your utilities, such as gas, electricity or water at the mains. This should be one of your main concerns, once you are certain that it’s safe to move around. This will help prevent any further damage that might be caused by leaks or shorts. Most insurance policies don’t cover earthquake damage, so make sure that yours does.
Consider making your home as safe and earthquake proof as possible. Bracing your water heater with bolts will definitely help. You could do the same for your furniture and any objects that are hanging on the walls. Make sure that any beds or couches that you usually use are away from windows and safe from other potentially falling objects. Do this especially for your bedroom or the room you usually sleep in. One of the worst-case scenarios is an earthquake disaster occurring while you sleep. Make sure that you position yourself out of harms’ way. Finally, talk to your family, neighbors or group members about these safety procedures. If you are prepping with your family or are in close contact with a larger group, make sure that everyone is aware of the plans, knows where to go, what to do and that you practice it regularly. Earthquakes are ruthless and devastating. The better you prep up your home and family for such a disaster, the easier it will be for you to overcome it safely.
Did you ever have to go through an earthquake? What did you do? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.