prepper's earthquake preparedness guide

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Step #8: Prepare for fire!
After an earthquake, fires are more prevalent. It only takes three
things to get a fire going: oxygen, fuel and an ignition source.

Know how to use a fire extinguisher
and consider these fire
suppression ideas for preppers...

  • Have a fire extinguisher (one in every room): You may
    have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen, but to plan for an
    earthquake you'll need as many extinguishers on your
    property as you have rooms. Also be sure every member in
    your group knows how to use the equipment.

  • Learn how to use a fire extinguisher. Know how to
    open the extinguisher case, pull the pin and aim to
    avoid wasting precious time. Right, is an aerosol fire
    extinguisher that will help stop fires fast because it
    operates in a familiar way. The Tundra aerosol can,
    pictured immediate left is easy enough to instruct a
    child how to use. Do whatever you can to stop fires fast!

  • Mind your hazardous materials: Get a locking metal cabinet
    to store pesticides and gas cans in sealed containers away
    from possible ignition sources. Read more about how to
    store fuel safely.

  • Prepare for wildfires with a home firefighting kit: Learn
    how to use CLASS-A Foam to provide deeper penetration,
    slower evaporation and greater fire extinguishing power than
    plain water. FOAM-FAST Wildfire Pre-Treatment Kit is the
    simplest and effective method of deploying foam onto a fire
    scene.  Extends the effectiveness of plain water by 500%!
    Best of all, the FOAM-FAST Wildfire Pre-Treatment Kit  is
    100% biodegradable and non-toxic, and works with a
    standard 3/4” garden hose. Each cartridge produces foam for
    up to an hour.

  • Have a fireproof safe: A fireproof safe offers protection
    from both fire and water for your important documents,
    including passports and birth certificates.

Step #9: Plan for proper sanitation.
Disruption of power is a possibility after an earthquake. Many
toilets have electric pumps, which won't work after a power
failure. Having a simple plan for sanitation is essential.

Your sanitation plan could be as easy as setting up a sanitation
station to include:
  1. bucket toilet
  2. sanitation bags
  3. toilet paper
  4. hand wipes or antibacterial lotion
  5. Remember (sanitary napkins and diapers for your family or

Step #10: Plan a course of action for different
No matter where you are, remember to "Duck, cover, and hold."
This means you should
duck down under a sturdy piece of
furniture or a doorway; pull your knees into your chest, and
your head; then
hold the position.  

Following is a short list of how to react to an earthquake in
different scenarios:

  • If there is an earthquake while driving...
  • Pull over and stay in your car. With smaller
    earthquakes, it feels as though your car has punctured
    the tire and you'll swerve a bit. Your best bet is to pull
    over and analyze the condition.
  • Keep driving if you're near bridges or buildings.
  • Steer clear of power lines.
  • Keep the Life Hammer handy!

  • If there is an earthquake while sleeping...
  • Keep a pair of sturdy shoes at your bedside.
  • Tuck a flashlight inside the shoes!
  • Make sure your bed is not near a window.
  • Be sure to bolt mirrors and bookcases.

  • If there is an earthquake while you are outside...
  • Move away from buildings, trees, power lines or
    anything that could topple you.
  • Beware of falling over broken class and debris.

  • If there is an earthquake while you are at work...
    Steer clear of potential falling objects. Get away from
    cabinets and bookshelves. Stay put immediately following a
    quake and analyze your situation, as moving about could
    cause injury. You can prepare for an earthquake at work by:

  • Having a "get home" bag handy. A get home bag is
    much like a bugout bag, but in reverse. Imagine if you
    worked 30-60 miles from home and you'd have to walk
    home. If you plan ahead you can have a fold up bicycle
    at work or in the car.
  • Setting aside an extra pair of shoes. A sturdy pair of
    shoes is the most overlooked item to have in
    preparation for an earthquake, especially for women
    who may wear heels to work. Get a good pair of shoes
    to help you walk out of the earthquake debris.
  • Add ing a whistle to your key chain. A whistle can be
    the link to your survival if you are trapped under debris.
    Clip one on your key chain or your child's backpack.
  • Adding Kevlar gloves to your list! Kevlar will help with
    glass handling to help you get victims trapped and to
    move obstacles in your way. They are also useful in your
    office after rioting or intrusion, you'll need to pick up
    the pieces of glass. The last thing you'll want to do is
    to cut yourself in a time when medical help won't be
    available and antibiotics are in limited supply. Kevlar
    gloves will also help fortify your home with barbed wire
    or handle your extremely hot wares.

  • If there is an earthquake while you are at a coastline
    location...If you live near the coast line, you know that
    earthquakes carry the added risk of tsunamis. Read the
    bottom of the page to heed the tsunami preparedness tips.

Beyond the Ordinary: How Preppers
Prepare for Earthquakes
Consider becoming a C.E.R.T. (Certified Emergency Response
Team) member. Ask your local fire department for detials.

  • Earthquake Essentials in a First Aid kit: Having an adequate
    first aid kit is a no-brainer for preppers, but in preparing for
    an earthquake, preppers go the extra measure to ensure
    they have extra splints and burn creams. The most common
    injuries are fractures and dislocations, wound infections, as
    well as injuries to the head, face, and brain.

  • Water Supplies for Preppers: While the emergency
    management recommendation is to store one gallon of water
    per day for each person in your household for three days,
    preppers go well beyond to improve their quality of life after
    an earthquake. They intend to survive any catastrophic
    condition! While water is essential, if you live in earthquake
    territory, then there is one water barrel in particularly you
    should consider:

  • Shelf Reliance EarthQuake 55-gallon Barrel: The Shelf
    Reliance Water Storage System, pictured in blue at the
    bottom right hand of the page, starts with a BPA-free 55
    gallon drum and then includes extra tools to help you put
    your water supply to good use. The included heavy-duty bung
    wrench doubles as a gas shut-off tool and provides access to
    other storage barrels of all sizes. What's more, the included
    pump can also be used to draw water from other natural
    water sources like lakes, rivers and streams. Also included
    are two advanced filters that attach to the Water Pump
    (each yields up to 100 gallons of fresh, clean, drinkable
    water enough to fill up the barrel nearly 4 times). This
    system is ideal for earthquake emergency preparedness.

  • Lighting: choose solar. Depending on your proximity to gas
    mains, you may like to steer clear of using candles, which
    may give you explosive results. As well, many fires will come
    after an earthquake as a result of accidents people have with
    candles and cooking. Solar lighting is an excellent solution to
    both problems. Try a solar air lantern.

  • Stansport earthquake emergency kit: The Stansport
    earthquake emergency kit (also effective for floods): is a 34-
    piece emergency preparedness kit in a cargo bag, which
    includes a lantern, AM radio, propane stove, and emergency
    light sticks, tarps, fluorescent orange safety vests, ponchos,
    and emergency blankets. Stansport thinks of everything,
    including also a 58-piece First Aid Kit; an 11-function knife,
    50-foot rope, and fire starter sticks, emergency water
    packets; five-gallon water jug. Pictured below:
Earthquake Preparedness
Earthquake Emergency Preparedness Plan for Preppers

Grab your earthquake bag!
Earthquake preparedness month is April, but anytime is a good
time to prepare for an earthquake! Get started now with this
concise guide to earthquake preparedness, including what to do
before, during and after an earthquake...

Prepping Guide to Earthquake Preparedness
Preppers who don't live in California may think they're safe, but
everyone lives in an earthquake zone! You live on planet earth
and planet earth shakes, so even if you're not near the New
Madrid fault line, or don't live in California, you should still
prepare for a quake. Your level of preparedness will determine the
quality of your life after an earthquake.

Earthquakes happen everywhere, not just California:

  • An earthquake in Montana? Yes! Western Montana got a
    jolt July 6 when an 5.8-magnitude earthquake hit shortly
    after midnight there, according to the United States
    Geological Survey.

  • Live in the U.S. Heartland? A 5.6 magnitude earthquake hit
    Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri, Texas, Nebraska, and
    Iowa, Sept. 3, 2016 according to USGS geophysicists.

What's the most dangerous thing about earthquakes?
If you want to know the most important thing about earthquake
survival, then you'll pay attention now, because nobody ever died
of being shaken to death in an earthquake. The real dangers are
what's around you!

  • During an earthquake... Imminent danger is from
    everything that could topple and fall on your head or crush
    you to death, but that doesn't mean you should run outside!

  • After an earthquake...
    Watch for gas fires, electrical lines, aftershocks, and tsunami

The most dangerous thing you can do following an earthquake is
to leave! So now you know and you should stay inside.

Ten Risks to Anticipate After an Earthquake

Risk #1: Broken glass.
Grab your sturdy shoes! Daggers of glass from tall buildings could
fall and slice you and you could be walking on glass and other
sharp objects. Watch your feet as you walk out of the fallen
debris. Grab a flashlight if you can to help you light the way and
avoid obstacles.

Risk #2: Fires from Broken Gas lines.
"Fire is the most common hazard after an earthquake," according
to FEMA. Check for fire hazards following a quake and rely on your
sense of smell to check for leaks. Be mindful not to use candles,
matches or open flames for fear of gas leaks! Most of the
devastation from the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco was from
fire damage. A fire blanket will help you put out a small fire and
also keep warmth of shock victims. Use a flashlight or LED lantern
instead of candlelight. Fires will break out from broken gas main
lines with the possibility of explosions.

Risk #3: Downed power lines.
Often overlooked is the danger of downed power lines, but loose
electrical wires could fry you! Prepper situational awareness
should include a survey of downed power lines when stepping
outside, because power lines aren't insulated as are power cords.
Children and pets are most vulnerable as they are unaware of the
dangers.  Drivers too should be aware to avoid driving over
downed lines, too! If you're caught in your car, you'll have a
measure of protection, but don't risk driving near them. Stay away
because injuries may happen to anyone who touches or is near
the downed lines.

Risk #4: Traffic light outages  (collision risks).
Driving after an earthquake has the inherent danger of  traffic
light outages, which could trigger collisions to those unaware.
Driving in an earthquake will at first feel as though you've blown
a tire.

Risk #5: Carbon monoxide poisoning.
A little known threat after an earthquake is carbon monoxide
poisoning. Carbon monoxide is deadly. Never use a generator
inside your home, and put generators away from doors, windows
and vents. Get a
carbon monoxide alarm to alert you to the

Risk #6: Liquefaction and ground displacement.
Liquefaction could happen (groundwater under the building mixes
with sand and soil to cause sink holes).Ground displacement is
different from Liquefaction in that groundwater is not the cause.
Buildings structured atop fault lines could crumble when the
ground underneath displaces, cracks and separates.

Risk #7: Potable water problem.
Following an earthquake the debris may make it difficult to get
fresh drinking water. The main reason why earthquake kits are
marked in orange, so that they are easier to find. Inside all
earthquake kits you will find water pouches to ration your water,
but these
water pouches and bottles will last only so long.

Your earthquake kit should include a water filtration system, and
a prepper favorite is a
Big Berkey water filtration system. Even if
your home is not affected by the earthquake, you'll want to
immediately fill your bathtubs with water using a

Risk #8: Flooding.
A little known fact is that earthquakes have the danger of
rupturing dams and levees! As a reminder, everyone also lives in
a flood zone!

Risk #9: Aftershocks.
While aftershocks generally are much milder than the earthquake,
you should expect a few temblors following the initial quake. Be
on high alert and explain to kids the possiblity.

Risk #10: Tsunamis.
After an earthquake a Tsunami is always a factor. If you live in a
coastal area, listen for tsunami warnings. Even if you aren't able
to get a warning, be aware that shaking beyond 20 seconds or
reports of an
earthquake 6.5 or above could trigger a tsunami!

Who is most at risk for an earthquake?
Technically everyone lives in an earthquake zone. California often
gets credited with having the most earthquakes in the United
States, but it's actually Alaska that suffers more severe quakes!
(California suffers more visible damage because of its
concentrated population.)  And, the most severe earthquake in
the Unites States wasn't even California or Alaska! The most
severe quake was in Missouri along the New Madrid Fault line in
1811-12 where experts estimate the Richter Scale would have
toppled more than 8 (if it had been invented)!

How to prepare for an earthquake
Take cover, because this short guide to earthquake preparedness
will get you through...

Ten steps for Earthquake Preparedness

Step #1: Prepare your bedside.
Have sturdy shoes handy, a coat, a flashlight, and personal items
in a pillowcase at your bedside. Stash important gear in an old
pillowcase near your bed within easy reach.

Do these things above all else:

  • Keep a sturdy pair of shoes by your bed. Glass may be
    broken and you'll be able to walk out of harms way with a
    sturdy pair of shoes.

  • Have a coat bedside, too. Particularly if you live in a
    subzero temperatures, have a warm coat handy or warm
    clothes. Put hand warmers in a pillowcase under the bed if
    necessary to grab, so you can survive the elements if you are
    forced into the cold by a damaged building.

  • Tape a flashlight to the entryway of your bedroom (or
    stuff a small camping lantern or LED light in the
    pillowcase). Having a flashlight handy is important in all
    disaster scenarios!Doorways are good places to take cover
    during an earthquake, and if you tape flashlight to the door  

  • Take care of personal necessities: If you wear glasses,
    have them handy at your bedside (always in the same spot).
    Ditto on the medicines. Your first priority is to take cover,
    but if you can grab these necessities as you go all the better.

You'll have sweet dreams knowing that you have everything you
need in your pillowcase following an earthquake.

Step#2: Get a gas shutoff 4-in-1 emergency tool.
If you're on a C.E.R.T. (Community Emergency Response Team),
you know the importance of a gas shutoff valve tool or water
main wrench: as gas lines may break during an emergency. Make
sure you have a Main Gas Valve Emergency Shutoff Tool easily
accessible near your gas valves and know how to use the tool to
help prevent an explosion.

If you have gas leak, you may not have enough time to wait for
the utility company to come out and save your home. The
Emergency Gas and Water Line Shut-Off Tool, pictured in yellow
at the top left-hand of the page, is a heavy-duty, professional-
grade tool designed to open standard meter covers and will shut
off the main valves for your water and gas lines.

  • NOTE: Before storing any emergency gas and water shut-off
    tool, be sure to test the fittings with your home's water and
    gas covers, as well as the water main and gas main valves.
    Most importantly, note that while you may turn off services
    at any time, only your gas company should come out to turn
    it back on.

Step #3: Strap your gas water heater.
Do yourself a favor and get water heater siesmic straps. or hire a
professional to do this for you. One of the major problems
following an earthquake is fire, and prevention is key! Strap your
gas water heater to the nearest wall to prevent fire caused by
gas leaks from a broken gas supply hose. Without a strap,
movement may result in gas or water line leaks, or loose wiring --
all of which can cause homeowners problems.

how to strap a water heater in California. Check with local
construction codes which may specify exactly how to strap a
water heater.

Step #4: Always have reserve water handy.
Water is a top prepper priority as you can live only three days
without it. Water lines may be broken and stores may be closed
cutting you off from this vital resource, and
FEMA may not be
around to help you either! So make sure you have adequate
amounts of water available, beyond the norm. You see, most
sites tell you to have a few days of water, when in reality you
may need a few a weeks of water!

Step #5: Have shelf-stable, no-cook food ready.
Food is another high priority emergency preparedness thing to
hoard for survival. You'll need ready to eat, shelf-stable foods -
make sure you have foods that don't require cooking! Fire often
follows earthquakes because of ruptured gas lines, and leaking
propane tanks, so lighting up a camp stove to make a meal
immediately after an earthquake isn't a prudent move. Having
protein snack bars handy, along with ready to eat meals will go a
long way towards making your family safe after an earthquake.
Avoid overly salty or spicy foods, which may be thirst provoking.
Datrex ration bars are an ideal short term meal solution.

Cooking Warnings:
  • Never use outdoor cook stoves indoors for fear of carbon
    monoxide poisoning.
  • Don't use the fireplace until you've had the chimney
    inspected for cracks and damage, as sparks may escape
    through an undetected crack and start a fire!
  • Inspect your propane tanks for leakage.
  • Check for gas leaks in your home with a little water and
    dishwashing soap. Here's the tutorial for how to check for
    gas leaks in a home using this method.
  • Get a carbon monoxide detector.

Step #6: Secure furniture and cabinets.
Steps one through three cover the basics. Most injuries from
earthquakes happen from fallen debris, which is why it's so
important to secure furniture and cabinets around your home and
workplace. Bolt furniture in place in anticipation of quakes
, so
items won't topple on top of you or block exits. Brackets and
straps will help do the job, as will a strategic location of a
bookcase so the items won't fall to injure or entrap you. Below is
a list of ways to secure your furnishings.

List of ways to earthquake-proof furnishings around your
  1. Move bookcases away from where people sleep or sit!
  2. Place beds away from windows or large mirrors to avoid
    breaking glass.
  3. Anchor large furniture with studs or "L" brackets.
  4. Secure hanging lamps with closed hooks.
  5. Glue a restraining lip on shelves to prevent objects from
    falling off.
  6. Keep heavy equipment on lower shelves to minimize damage.
  7. Hang pictures on double hooks.
  8. Secure cabinets with latches (hook and eye latch, standard
    latch, push latches and child-proof latches will all help).
  9. For fragile sentimental items, such as vases or artwork, you
    can secure earthquake putty on them to keep them on a
  • NOTE: Clever preppers also use earthquake putty for their
    mason jars. Food is more valuable than heirlooms in survival!

Step #7: Secure equipment around your home.
Preventing leaks of water, gas and carbon monoxide is an
important consideration. Around your home, one of the best
things you can do to prepare for an earthquake is to install a
flexible gas connector.

    Earthquake preparedness list:
  1. Secure propane tanks. Install flexible gas connectors to
    propane tanks. Large propane tanks are vulnerable to
    expand and contract, which may compromise the seismic
    connections. Consult a structural engineer.
  2. Strap the water heater (hire a professional). While you
    may be tempted to use plumber's tape as a do-it-
    yourself project, it's better to hire a licensed plumber to
    strap it to code using sturdy metal strapping, lag screws
    and washers; and in this way securing the water heat to
    the wall studs. Ask to have flexible pipes, which are
    safer than the rigid kind during an earthquake.
  3. Strap the chimney in place (structural straps and angle
  4. Secure your refrigerator (wall studs).

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Tsunami Preparedness
No guide to earthquake preparedness would be complete without
a warning about Tsunamis and a few key points to prepare.

If you live in an earthquake zone, you may also live in a
Tsuanami Hazard zone. Learn more about
Tsunami preparedness.

Why water purification is important after a quake
Water may become contaminated shortly after earthquakes,
hurricanes and other natural disasters. Be sure to test your water
following a disaster!

There's a movie San Andreas, is the Hollywood version of what
would happen when "the big one" strikes. The popular movie is a
bit far of a stretch, but nonetheless a good reminder for everyone
about the importance of earthquake preparedness. No matter
where you live, as a prepper, you must prepare for an earthquake.
Like the movie says, you will feel it on the East Coast.
Final Steps for homeowners
Want to go the extra step? The greatest earthquake weaknesses
in a home are unbraced water heaters, weak crawl space walls,
unreinforced masonry foundations and walls, as well as the rooms
over garages. Other weak areas for homeowners is homes build
on steep hillsides and homes built along the water which have
pier and post foundations.

  • Bolt your home to the foundation! This isn't typically a do-
    it-yourself project. You'll need to hire licensed professionals
    to install cast-in bolts. They will drill bolts in the wooden
    sill. Also, you'll need to submit permits to the building
    department for approval before beginning the work.

  • Get Earthquake insurance. As with floods, a homeowners
    insurance typically does not cover earthquakes. In California,
    fewer than 20% of homeowners have coverage for
    earthquake insurance at all. Check the contract and ask your
    insurance agent whether earthquake insurance is right for
    you. Renters can participate in coverage for their
    possessions as well.

  • Consider seismic retrofitting for the room above the
    garage. Know your garage is the most vulnerable place in
    your home. If you've built a living space atop the garage,
    you'll need fortify it with structural components. Retrofitting
    before an earthquake is much cheaper than dealing with the
    repercussions after an earthquake.

  • Select your next home like a prepper. Avoid buying a home
    on steep hillside or one supported by pier and post

  • Employ use of water heater straps, and furniture straps,
    particularly in bedrooms. Bookcases and heavy furniture
    could topple you.

Have an Earthquake communications plan

Telephone Preparations:

  • Pre-arrange to have everyone call a contact out of town.
    Have family members call a pre-designated number outside
    the earthquake zone to communicate messages.

    Get a Landline. An old fashioned landline may well be your
    life line. While everyone else is busy jamming the cell phone
    lines to check the status of loved ones, you will get a better
    opportunity to get through.

  • Cell phone tip: Learn to text if you don't already know how.
    Often text messages will go through while voice mail
    connections will not.

While April was a good time for earthquake preparedness, don't
worry if you missed it, because it's never too late to prepare for
an earthquake! Earthquake preparedness for your family or group
depends on you. Don't rely on FEMA to support you in time of
crisis. Be prepared even if you don't live in earthquake country.

April is Earthquake Preparedness month!
Join a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) in honor of
earthquake preparedness month. You'll gain valuable information
on the 13 natural and man-made hazards.

Residents of the San Francisco Bay Area are relatively unprepared
for earthquakes. When April rolls around, schools may hold drills,
news stations offer public service announcements and not much
happens. Residents may add a few bottles of water to their
garage, but unfortunately that's the extent of preparedness for
most families.

Ideally residents of California should prepare for an earthquake by
having a minimum of two to three weeks of water and food and a
cook stove, emergency medical kits, radios, flashlights,  fire
extinguishers and more. They should also have a gas shut off
valve handy and have a pair of sturdy shoes at the office for
walking home.

Preppers are much more extensive than the average California
resident, especially for  preppers who are planning to survive a
catastrophic New Madrid earthquake. Take a cue from an ordinary
earthquake preparedness kit to develop your own earthquake
preparedness kit. You'll want the typical items, such as food,
water and filtration, first aid kit, maps, dust masks, and an
emergency whistle, etc.

You can get a
basic list of Emergency Supplies from Red Cross.

Following is our more extensive shopping list of what preppers
should include in their earthquake preparedness plans....

Earthquake Preparedness Shopping List

NOTE: A whistle can be the link to your survival if you are trapped
under debris and is often overlooked. Clip one on your key chain
or your child's backpack!
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