• When Disaster Strikes: Earthquake Preparation for Parents

    In the aftermath of the earthquake in Chile, we share with you ways to help prepare your family in the event of an earthquake.
  • According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in the U.S. , there are 3 important Ps to remember when preparing your family for an earthquake: Plan, Prepare and Practice. Whether or not there is a predicted occurrence, earthquake preparation for parents is essential so that reactions in the family are automatic and coordinated.

    Describe what an earthquake is to your child, and its possible effects. Depending on how old your child is, he might be too young to know what an earthquake is. Describe what sounds or movements to expect. Let him know how what an earthquake can do to structures like houses or buildings. Make sure, though, to explain it in a way that will not frighten him. Always reassure him that you will be around to protect him and that there are ways to help protect against an earthquake’s possible effects. Here are steps on how to keep your child safe during emergencies , as well as ways to help prepare the family for an earthquake.

    1. Prepare an emergency kit for each family member with the following:
    - Food and water good for a week
    - Adjustable pipe wrench to turn off gas and water
    - Fire extinguisher
    - Portable radio
    - Batteries
    - Flashlights
    - First aid supplies
    - Extra clothing
    - Extra sleeping bags
    - Books


    UPDATED:
     Your child’s emergency kit should be no different, but with a few additions, such as the following:
    - A family picture
    - A favorite toy or book, or both
    - A familiar blankie or pillow
    - The child’s emergency card, indicating allergies, special medications, or disabilities. It should also indicate where your pre-agreed meet-up point is, in case you get separated.
    - Her comfort food, aside from the basic contents of an emergency kit
    - Parents’ and close relatives’ contact numbers written on paper (laminated, to keep it dry)
    - Loose change to make calls
    Likewise, you should always keep a recent photo of your child in your bag / phone.


    2. Identify safe and dangerous areas in your home. 
     Examples of safe spots are sturdy tables, desks, heavy beds or doorways. These can protect you from falling debris.  Dangerous areas would be those with easily breakable material such as bookcases, china cupboards, glass windows, mirrors, and other hanging objects like lamps, etc.

    3. Note down important information:                                                                                                                                      - Emergency numbers (Emergency hotlines , Safety and Health Institutions and major hospitals )

    - Names, addresses and contact details of your insurance agents, as well as your insurance policy types and numbers
    - Contact numbers of electric, gas, and water companies- Contact details of neighbors
    - Contact details of your landlord
    - Medical information (allergies, medical history, etc.)
    - Plate number/s of your vehicle/s, year, model- Bank account number
    - TV and radio stations to watch or listen to for important news


    4. Get a fire-proof safe for valuable documents.
    - Birth certificates
    - Ownership certificates- Social security cards
    - Passports
    - Insurance policies
    - Wills


    5. Have earthquake drills. 
    The difficult reality about earthquakes is that you don’t know when exactly it will strike. In these cases, it is always best to conduct emergency drills so the entire family has a rehearsed plan of action during an earthquake. The key thing is to rehearse and rehearse so that the family, the children, especially, will know what to do and where to go when an earthquake occurs.
    Should you have preschoolers, ask your child’s school administrators if they conduct emergency drills such as fire and/or earthquake drills.

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    6. Come up with an evacuation plan. 
    It is important to go through this together as a family. Conduct these twice a year.
    - Draw a floor plan of your home. Go through each room and point as well as mark out where the safe spots are. Establish a primary (and secondary exit point, if possible).- Identify where the emergency kit and/or supplies are located.
    - Label on the floor plan the locations of utility switches and other valves so that they may be turned off in the event of an earthquake. These can be electrical, gas, and water main valves.
    - Determine priority objects for saving, such as important items that can be hand-carried.- Establish a meeting place outdoors.- Appoint a friend or relative whom your children can contact to report their whereabouts.


    7. What to do when indoors during an earthquake:
     - If you are indoors, stay inside. This will help you avoid falling debris.
    - Get under a heavy bed, sturdy desk or table. Or stand beside a filing cabinet or a piece of furniture that will create a triangular pocket of space around you should the ceiling collapse. If none of these are available, cover your face and head with your arms and situate you and your children under a doorway or in an inside corner of the house or building.- Steer clear of objects which could shatter.
    - Wait for the tremor to stop.


    8. What to do when outdoors during an earthquake:
     - Try to get into an open area away from structures such as buildings, trees, walls, signs or power lines.
    - If in a vehicle, pull over to the side of the road and other structures which could collapse or break. Remain in your car until the tremors stop.


    9. What to do after an earthquake:
     - Don’t panic. Stay calm and brace yourself for aftershocks.
    - Check your family members for any signs of injuries and administer first aid.
    - Check for spilled medicines, drugs, and other potentially harmful substances.
    - Tune in to TV and radio broadcasting stations for news and instructions.
    - Check for damage to gas and water pipes, electrical wiring, and sewage lines. Report these immediately to the respective utility companies.
    - Check for downed power lines.- Should there be a need to evacuate, leave a message informing others where you and your family can be located.
    - Steer clear of damaged buildings and away from waterfront areas.
    - Do not refuse the aid of government safety officials (fire fighters, policemen, and other relief organizations). 




    Sources:
    emergency.cdc.gov
    www.ehow.com
    www.lds.org

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