Earthquake: Preparing for a natural disaster

Earthquake preparation

By Erik Luna

The magnitude 5.1 earthquake last month should serve as a shaky reminder to be prepared and know what to do during an emergency. The earthquake was reported by the U.S. Geological Survey to have occurred one mile from La Habra, Calif. and although there was no extravagant damages reported, people might not be so fortunate next time.

When preparing for a natural disaster, such as a high-magnitude earthquake, it’s important to know where to get the vital supplies such as food and water. Storing canned food with a long shelf life can ensure that you or your family won’t go hungry. When storing food, be sure to avoid placing them near any petroleum items such as gas, pesticides or paints, for they might compromise the food.

Maintaining your food supply is also vital. Food items should always be labeled with their expiration date to ensure that it is used when fresh. Most canned food will maintain fresh for two years given that they are stored in temperatures between 40 – 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Water should also be given special attention.

According to, each person should have at least one gallon of water. Water should be labeled as well, and not be stored in plastic containers such as milk or juice gallons, but in strong and sturdy plastic containers. It’s also advised that water should be drunk according to the needs of the people.

Some factors to take into account when it comes to people who need the water the most would be age, physical activity and physical condition. If at anytime you think a source of water is not safe to drink, boiling water for one minute will kill any bacteria in the water.

Although these are probably the most important, there are some other items that should be included in an emergency kit. These items are also recommended:  Flashlight and extra batteries, first aid kit, whistle to signal for help, manual can opener, local maps and a cellphone with a solar charger.

A portable radio with extra batteries is also recommended in order to receive emergency broadcasts. Yet, these are just a few items that should be taken into consideration. People should also take into consideration their personal needs, but try not to take anything non-essential.

Medicines, both over the counter and long term prescriptions, should be included, but updated and checked on frequently. Clothes are also important to have in case there is major damage to your home and your belongings are destroyed.

Try to keep some money in your kit as well ATMs may not work after an earthquake in case you need to buy anything you need. It’s important that these items are easily accessible and are replaced as needed. This may prove difficult for some families who live in low income houses or who are renting apartments, but safety should be a top priority.

Keeping the supplies ready outside in a plastic container can be a good way to make sure the supplies don’t get in the way of an everyday routine and the plastic container will protect against rain. As important as knowing where to get supplies is, it’s even more important to know what to do during and after a high magnitude earthquake.

The Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast predicted that California has a 99.7 percent chance of having a magnitude 6.7 or larger during the next 30 years. They have also predicted that it’s more likely to occur in Southern California rather than Northern: 37 percent for Southern and 15 percent for Northern.

Keeping this in mind, a crucial step in preparing for a disaster, particularly for families, is discussing what to do in case of an emergency.

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