Ready or Not #171: Earthquake Readiness

“Utah Gov announces earthquake preparedness week”, so reads The Associated Press headline on April 5, 2010.  They go on to say that, “Utah Gov. Gary Herbert has designated April 4-10 as Earthquake Preparedness Week.

A Web site provides tips on what to do in preparation for an earthquake and its aftermath.  The Utah Seismic Safety Commission says about 700 earthquakes, including aftershocks, occur every year in Utah.

Roughly 80 percent of the state’s population would be affected by a magnitude 7.0 earthquake on the Salt Lake City segment of the Wasatch Fault.”

Of course the website they are referring to is this website (just kidding – sort of), actually the one that I think they had in mind is the bereadyutah.gov website (#48 – the numbers next to the suggestions are the articles under the Ready or Not section that will help you with each suggestion) and yes, you should be taking this preparedness “thing” seriously. (NOTE:  If you view Be Ready Utah in Firefox on a Mac, many of the graphics do not come up.  Use Safari instead.)

Being prepared doesn’t mean that you have an earthquake bunker in your backyard that you can hide in it until the unpleasantness goes away.  What it does mean is that you need to start doing instead of just thinking.  If you don’t have your 72hr. kit put together, start.  If you do have your kit, take it apart, look at everything, replace what needs to be replaced and add what you think you might need.  If you need some guidelines as to some good ideas of what to put in your backpack, check out past Ready or Not articles #5, #6 and #7.

It seems like recently we have had a new and deadly earthquake at least once a week, if not daily, somewhere in the world.  My friend’s son and his family live in California and they felt the latest earthquake that originated in Mexico.  They had some items break and they watched their neighbor’s swimming pool surge over the sides.  Two co-workers were at Disneyland and they both felt the quake.  One of the co-workers family was in the middle of riding the “Tower of Terror” during the earthquake and they didn’t notice a thing.  Go figure.

It is a well known fact that the Salt Lake City area (that is anywhere past-the-point-of-the-mountain) and the Utah County area is sitting on a very large earthquake fault line.  I’m most concerned about those areas because that is where I live, but I also know that most of Utah is riddled with earthquake faults.  In the nearly half century that I have lived in Utah County, I can only remember one time that I saw our hanging lamp start to ever so slowly sway back and forth, and that was when I was a pre-teen!  With the earth shifting as much as it has recently (the ground mass in Chile shifted over 10 feet in certain areas) and as many diverse places that are experiencing serious earthquakes (Remember London last year?), it would be unrealistic for us to think that “it won’t happen to us”.

Seriously, get your kits together (72 hr (#5, #6, #7), Nightstand/Under the bed (#3) and Emergency Signal (#4) kits), set a little cash aside that you can access easily, make your school and car kits (#45), gather your important documents into one area that is easy for you to get to (#25), set up an inventory of your house for insurance purposes (#26, #161) (Do you have earthquake insurance?  It is different than regular insurance.), make a family plan (#43) about what each person is expected to do and for goodness sakes – GET YOUR WATER STORED!  This is so very important!  Two gallons, per person, per day for two weeks (#2).
This is not a sudden or a new worry; we have been told for years to get prepared, to store food and become self-sufficient.  Even if an earthquake doesn’t happen, this is all good stuff to get done.  No more excuses.  We have the means, the information and right now, we even have the availability, but that might not always be the case.  Start to think about at what level of comfort you want to be if ANY type of disaster happens – not just earthquakes.

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