Blog post for the Great Shakeout #3: Create a plan and prepare a kit.

Now that your home is secure and bolted down, its time to think about what you will actually do during and immediately after the quake. You should have a plan, and each member of your household should know it. Here are some suggestions to help get your plan together.

Plan for Right When It Happens:

Take a walking tour of your house with the whole family. Identify potential hazards in each room that you will need to be aware of, and locate safe spots in every room to duck and cover: Doorways, under tables or beds, or in closets. Have "Drop and Cover" drills periodically, and in various parts of the house, so your family will know how best to protect themselves.

Plan for immediately after if happens:

Now that you have identified where to hide during the quake, your family will need to have a plan for what to do immediately after the quake. Here are a few things to consider:
-Decide on a location outside of the home and a safe distance away where you will meet up as a family in the event of an earthquake (this is also great for a fire, too).
-Get in the habit of leaving a pair of shoes and a flashlight by every bed. If a quake happens while you are asleep, you may not have time to Replace your shoes (and you may not be able to) and there is a good possibility of broken glass and other hazards being on the ground.
-Talk to your family (especially kids) about what to do if they get trapped or stuck. Teach them to knock three times, over and over again, so that rescuers can Replace them. Talk about not trying to shift around too much rubble, as doing so can make the whole are collapse, making a bad situation worse.
-We talked about this yesterday, but it is important that you know where the utility shut offs for your house are located, and how to turn them off. Make sure that multiple members of your family know this, incase one of you is hurt, incapacitated or not home when the quake hits.
-Be prepared to fight fires, administer first aid and help your neighbors.
-Establish a friend or family member that does not live in the area, that your family members will know to communicate with.
-Know what the plans and procedures are for your children's schools and daycares, and have the schools emergency contact information handy at all times. You never know when a quake will happen.

Have a Kit
Once the earthquake is over, asses the damage, and be prepared to leave very quickly. You will need to have Emergency Kits for each member of your family. These kits can be simple or comprehensive as you feel is necessary and your individual family needs demand. some things to consider as you prepare your family's kits:

-Do any of your children have special dietary needs? Medication?
-Do you have pets? What kinds of things will they need?
-Consider having a kit in your car, as well as one in your home.

Your kits should always include at least these basics:
-Water, enough for at least 3 days, if not more.
-First aid supplies and essential hygiene items.
-Emergency Light. Either glow sticks or flashlights with spare batteries.
-High Calorie food items, enough for at least 3 days.
-a Whistle, to help rescuers Replace you.

These are the bare essentials for your kit. Personalize it with clothing items, medications, copies of important and identifying documents, as well as stress relievers such as games or a favorite stuffed animals. Remember that children will need extra attention in an emergency situation, and any small comfort you can give them will be a huge benefit to you and to them.

Click Here for a check list of everything you will need to put into an emergency kit.

Once your kit is assembled, be sure that each member of your family knows where it is. Store them in a place that easy to get to, easy to remember, and preferably on the way to an exit. Have your family members help pack the kits themselves, so the know what is in it and where it is. Also, be aware of which items have expiration dates, and be sure to exchange them for new ones when the time comes.

How's your family earthquake plan? Got your kits ready? Tell me all about it in the comments.


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