Earthquake Preparedness In The Home

Spending a couple of minutes now could save lives later......BE PREPARED!!

We all realize the need to have expensive and/or vulnerable appliances and equipment such as refrigerators, water heaters, computers, television/VCR units and stereos, as well as bookcases, entertainment centers and armoires secured and braced against damage or destruction in the event of a major earthquake. We urge our clients and neighbors to take some additional measures to decrease the impact a quake can have on you and your family members. The following list should be reviewed periodically so that you and your family members are familiar with it.


Duck, Cover and Hold - When the shaking starts, get under something sturdy such as a dining room table, a desk, or a doorway and hold on (for a desk or table can "dance" and move during a quake). Keep away from windows and outer walls. If you are in bed or lying down, do not try to stand up or walk- you have a greater chance of being thrown down or being injured by objects flying across the room.

Do Not Roam Around - During and after the earthquake, communicate with other family members by way of voice or survival whistle to be certain that everyone is okay. Once the shaking stops, all family members should gather in a predetermined and safe inner location. Locate and collect your survival kits and exit together in an orderly manner. If the earthquake is at night or while napping, be sure to put on shoes to avoid broken glass and/or fallen objects in the dark. Gather any pets and exit together to a predetermined and safe outer location . Administer any first aid, evaluate the continued safety of your location and prepare for any large aftershocks.

Shutoffs - Be sure that everyone knows where the shutoffs are for the gas, electric and water. A designated person should get to these shutoffs as soon as safe to do so.

Out Of State Contact - Have a friend or relative that each family member can contact in case you are not at home or separated during the earthquake. Damage to local phone lines may make it impossible to phone your next door neighbor while long distance lines can keep you connected with separated or concerned relatives. The use of a cellular phone and list of cellular numbers for friends and relatives is ideal.

Emergency Supplies - Have survival kits and other emergency supplies for all family members and pets located in house and easily available to grab if evacuating: water, food, radio, flashlight, extra batteries, first aid kit, pencil and paper and optional dry clothes and shoes should be considered. Have $40.00 in smaller bills always available in the event that electronic banking services are not functioning. Remember, most stores and ATM's can only process transactions if the phone lines are working.

Medications and Disabled - Be sure to have a two week supply of medications on hand at all times. A spare pair of eyeglasses is also recommended. If you have a disabled member in your family, make sure they have some type of device (either whistle or aerosol air horn) to alert other family members or rescuers of their location.

Camping Equipment - Have camping equipment available in case your home becomes uninhabitable. This would include tents, portable toilet, survival candles, portable stove and fuel tablets, blankets, first aid supplies and rescue aids not found in your individual or family survival kits.

Sanitary Needs - Have extra sanitary essentials readily available. This includes toothpaste, toothbrush, mouthwash, toilet paper, waste disposal bags, soap, hand sanitizer and eye care solutions.

Gasoline Supply - Always keep your vehicles fully fueled. Half a tank may not get you home or out of town in the event of a major disaster and/or traffic jam. Remember, gas stations need electricity to run their pumps and pay machines.

And most of all DO NOT PANIC. Be mindful of the circumstances and stay alert. The best thing you can do for yourself and your family is to be prepared.


Emergency Preparedness in the Workplace

Spending a couple of minutes now could save lives later......BE PREPARED!!


Federal Emergency Management Agency (F.E.M.A.) and Small Business Administration (S.B.A.) statistics show that 43% of all businesses that are shut down by a catastrophic event never re-open. Of those that re-open, 28% have continuing financial difficulties.

Man-made or natural, catastrophic events are unpredictable and unfortunately inevitable. The moderate 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake caused over 6 billion dollars in damage. The effect was like shutting down the Bay Area economy for 11 working days. Even a minor earthquake has the potential of putting commercial and private enterprises out of business in seconds. Following the Loma Prieta quake, two libraries and eight museums estimated over a million dollars in damage to building content. In the case of the libraries, the money was spent primarily on reconstructing the library stacks, rebinding damaged books and sorting and re-shelving books. Of the eight museum facilities, each having some type of seismic program in place, only 150 of the approximately 500,000 items had to be replaced or refurbished. Still, the damage loss was over 10 million dollars and would have been worse if not for the QuakeProofing that had been done.

The unprecedented attacks on the World Trade Center complex and surrounding buildings is fast approaching 2 billion dollars in actual property loss. Figures for lost wages and other information is still being calculated. These two figures are small and almost insignificant compared to the human loss, which is still painful to accept. In spite of the rarity of another occurrence like this, the possibility of future terrorist attacks or employee sabotage does exist and companies need to be prepared.

Earthquakes strike without warning; occur during the day or night; can happen at a time that will produce a maximum number of casualties; can strike when the largest number of employees and non-employees/customers or residents and non-residents/visitors are present or near your facility or workplace. Whether minor or moderate, earthquakes and the accompanying aftershocks usually trigger secondary events like fires, landslides, flooding, tsunamis in coastal areas, building collapse due to liquefaction, the release or spread of hazardous materials and even dam failures.

The impact of a major earthquake is difficult to imagine. None of the most recent earthquakes in the western states come close to the massive destruction that can occur.  Businesses and residences at the epicenter, or ground zero area can expect interruption of water, electricity, natural gas and telephone services. Streets, freeways, public transportation and rail services may be damaged or destroyed. Individuals and businesses need to be prepared to be self sufficient for up to 72 hours after an earthquake strikes.

An immediate declaration of a State of Emergency will be issued by the Governor's office followed by a presidential Disaster Declaration. This will allow state and federal agencies to start emergency response operations. F.E.M.A. and the Air National Guard will be available to assist businesses and local governments. However, these resources may not be available for several days after mobilization depending on the severity of damage to transportation and communication infrastructure.

EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS is a key to business survival.

Prepare now since disaster can strike at any time. As a business executive or industry manager you cannot afford to be unprepared. Preparing is not hard and the rewards are great. Remember, earthquakes, fires and floods are not the only events that can interrupt your business or industry. Being prepared can also protect your assets during a transportation strike, supplier strike or civil unrest/riot where normal business and manufacturing methods are challenged.

There are three factors to consider when addressing Emergency Preparedness: life safety, loss of function, property loss. Business Continuity is paramount to most companies.  It is mandatory that employees and customers be protected from harm caused by the lack of prudent steps being taken to make a facility (public or private) as safe as possible or Quakeproofed. It is also imperative that safeguards be taken to protect the large investment in equipment and research while keeping the work environment user friendly and aesthetically pleasing.

Property loss, beyond the interior contents, whether you lease or own the building, can have a major impact on the speed of your recovery. Your distance from a fault or the quake epicenter does not necessarily ensure safety. Many factors have to be evaluated to properly QuakeProof your facility and limit property loss. The type of soil your facility is constructed on; the type of foundation, exterior signage and ornamentation/facades; construction type (tilt up, lathe/plaster, etc.); and the type/route of utility lines servicing your facility.

QuakeProof Inc. can provide free and accurate quotations for the seismic bracing and securing of your building contents. Items such as file cabinets, bookcases, floor copiers and equipment in computer rooms, research labs, telephone centers, lunchrooms and all common areas, should be braced and secured so that, in the event of a disaster, lives and equipment are protected. Our installation technicians are trained to provide the safest work environment possible during and after the Quakeproofing of your facility.

Because of budgetary constraints in some companies or the presence of their own facilities staff, there are certain installation procedures that can be done in house such as: the application of Thumblock devices, the installation of Hook and Loop (Velcro) systems, the laying of Quake Matting and the application of Quake gel or putty. All these products are available for purchase through QuakeProof Inc.

Technical bracing requires a working knowledge of the various structural elements used in modern construction as well as in older facilities. Because of the intricate and often complex components involved, it is highly advisable that professionally trained technicians be contracted to be certain the bracing is done correctly. QuakeProof Inc. will provide this service. An improper installation produces nothing more than a false sense of security.

After Quakeproofing your facility, another essential part of being prepared is to conduct frequent emergency drills and train employees in emergency preparedness and response.  The following information should be familiar to all employees and those responsible for others in the event of a disaster or emergency evacuation.

Immediately after an earthquake or other disaster and only if conditions are safe and allow the time to do so, the following steps should be taken:

Contact emergency assistance for larger or out of control situations. Use cellular phones if land lines are unavailable.

In the days following a disaster, for a business to resume operations, a number of long term planning procedures must be implemented:

Remember to Be Prepared for the unthinkable and when the unthinkable actually occurs.

The most important key to Business Survival, Recovery and Continuity is being prepared. A secure facility with trained employees is a safer environment.


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