Last year, my daughter had been talking to some people in her EMT class at UVU and she called me in a panic. “Mom, there is a professor at BYU that has predicted an earthquake! He said that it is going to strike on Saturday! Mom! I’m scared, what should I do? Do you think it is real? What do we need to do? Mom! Did you hear me? There is going to be an earthquake!”
I tried not to laugh because earthquakes are not a laughing matter, but I could see visions of Chicken Little running around in my daughter’s brain. So instead I asked her, “What do you want me to do about it?” Her response was of disbelief. She thought that I would start to rattle off a disaster checklist and start giving out orders, but I didn’t.
Instantly my brain had already started to do that, but it wasn’t a disaster checklist, it was a preparedness checklist. She couldn’t believe that I was so calm and wondered if I didn’t believe her. It wasn’t that I didn’t believe her, but when it comes down to it, we live on a fault line here in Utah County and I can’t stop earthquakes (I would bottle it and sell it if I could), and we are always expecting, and hopefully preparing for, an earthquake – someday.
To settle my daughter down I asked her if we had our 72-hr. kits ready – she said yes. I asked her if her vehicle was full of gas – she said that she would fill it up. Did we have enough of our necessary medications? Important health and insurance paperwork ready to pick up and leave if needed; again the answer was yes. The last question that I had was do we have enough water stored? Absolutely! (Two gallons per person, per day for a two week period) Should we be prepared like that all the time? Yes. Would it be helpful to panic? No.
As it turned out, we did have an earthquake. Instead of it happening on Saturday, it happened on Monday and not in Utah County, but further east, in Wells, Nevada. For earthquake predictions, I would say that the professor at BYU was pretty spot on. And then this morning when I got up I heard about another earthquake just outside of London. London? London, England? Not your regular earthquake hotspot, but nonetheless, they had an earthquake. Talk about diverse places!
How much worse would it have been if an earthquake had hit Utah County or Salt Lake County? Wells is a small community, but Utah County is not. They were able to get help quickly – would we? Were the people in Wells, Nevada and London, England and the surrounding areas ready for this? Did they have their Beside the Bed Kit that held shoes, flashlights, gloves and a whistle where they could find it and get out of the house? How about 72-hr. kits that held a few simple items to make their lives easier until they were able to make alternative housing arrangements? Water. Did they have water stored? I don’t know about England, but Wells had their water lines broken. Fortunately they were able to fix them right away, but what would happen if the aftershocks broke them again? The aftershocks were pretty bad and there were a lot of them.
It would be a good time, again, to reassess your family plan and make sure that it is workable. If you aren’t at home and cell phones aren’t working (because the towers are down or the powers-that-be turned them off) how will you communicate? Think about getting your HAM radio license. Also, get CERT trained. Really, it will help you know how to do the right thing at the right time. Just a note, Salem City is currently looking for a new city CERT Leader(s), so if you have the desire to serve the community, you can keep your cool and you are good at organizing, then consider volunteering. Don’t worry if you don’t know anything – you will be taught, and then you can teach others. Isn’t it great?!
As an after thought I would like to mention that this is my 100th preparedness article. Who would have thought that you could have been told over 100 times to store water? Go figure.