You may think that earthquakes aren’t something to worry about, but the US averages around 20,000 earthquakes a year or around 55 a day while Canada has about 5,000 quakes a year. 42 US States are currently at risk of a major earthquake. Whether you live in an earthquake zone or are traveling to one, knowing the right way to deal with disasters can save your life and prevent damage to property.
Building for Earthquakes
Homes built from concrete, like those utilizing ICFs, are better able to withstand disasters. From the Portland Cement Association: “Built according to good practices, concrete homes can be among the safest and most durable types of structures during an earthquake. Homes built with reinforced concrete walls have a record of surviving earthquakes intact, structurally sound and largely unblemished.
Reinforced concrete walls work well because of the composite system: Concrete resists compression forces, and reinforcing steel resists tensile forces produced by an earthquake. Even a lightly reinforced concrete shear wall has over six times the racking load resistance as framed wall construction.”
Secure your water heater using a bracing kit to prevent the rupture of water and gas supplies. Anchor all heavy appliances and furniture in the same way.
Check that your insurance policy covers natural disasters like earthquakes.
Before an Earthquake
Have an emergency response plan in place which you discuss with your employees and family members so that, when disaster strikes, you are ready to deal with any eventuality.
- Research your local evacuation sites. Many towns have concrete structures which provide shelter during disasters. Ensure everyone knows how to reach the evacuation site from their places of work or schools.
- Check that your evacuation site accepts your pets. Most don’t and you will need an alternative destination like an animal-friendly hotel.
- Always have an emergency bag with fist aid kit, water, blankets and important documents that is in an easy-to-reach place.
- Have an emergency evacuation plan for your office and home with designated meeting points.
- Employees and family members should know how to turn off the power, gas and water in the event of a disaster.
During an Earthquake
- Stay away from windows as broken glass can be hazardous.
- Take cover under heavy furniture. Statistics show most injuries are caused when people change locations.
- Do not use escalators and elevators during disasters.
- If you are outside, avoid powerlines, buildings and trees. If you are driving, pull off the road in an area away from bridges, powerlines, streetlights, buildings and trees.