The earthquake and tsunami in Japan has been eye opening for me. It’s devastating to see what mother nature can really do (and so much more than even the movies let on). What a great time this is to re-evaluate how prepared we are. And did you know that more than just California should be worried about “the big one” hitting?
As I was thinking about it, I discovered there are a lot of lessons we can learn from Japan (the most prepared country for an earthquake) to be better prepared for an earthquake.
1. PRACTICE FOR AN EARTHQUAKE-EVEN IF YOU DON’T LIVE IN CALIFORNIA: For as awful as things were in Japan they could have been much worse. Did you know that Japan as a country has one day a year dedicated for the ENTIRE country to practice earthquake drills. Now, growing up in California I had plenty of earthquake drills and now California is spearheading the same idea here in the United States. It’s called the Shake Out and it occurs on October 20th-they even have audio and video “Drill Broadcasts” to provide instructions during your drill. You can register your family for it and get more information on how to conduct your own drills by clicking HERE. After all, more than just California is in danger of “the big one” and you never know-you just might be on vacation in an earthquake zone.
2. ARE YOU STRUCTURALLY SAFE? Japan led the way in innovative ways to design and build buildings to withstand earthquakes. Weren’t you all amazed watching those buildings sway in the earthquake instead of collapsing?! While we may not have that luxury, there is a lot you can do in the spaces around you (home, work, etc.) to make sure the items won’t fall in an earthquake. Conduct a “hazard hunt” and see what items would fall in an earthquake-items like computers, book shelves, tvs, water heaters, etc. You can get everything you need to know about securing your items at daretoprepare.org. Click HERE to learn about securing your HOME/BUILDING and HERE to learn about securing your STUFF.
3. DISASTER KITS: How are your 72 hour disaster kits? Now is the time to go through and double check the items you have on hand. You can download what FEMA suggests you have in your disaster kit by clicking HERE. Not to mention with Spring around the corner-it’s a good time to go through and switch out winter clothes for summer clothes.
4. DISASTERS DON’T ALWAYS HAPPEN AT HOME: This earthquake struck during the day when people weren’t at home. Remember, disasters don’t always happen in the comforts of your home. Make sure you’re prepared at work, in your car, and in your purse/diaper bag.
5. BE IN A POSITION TO HELP OTHERS: Learn all you can about how to help in medical situations. The Red Cross has the best classes and information on how to help if you’re a first responder to a situation. I was intrigued watching the special 20/20 last night about the earthquake in Japan. They interviewed survivors of the Indonesian tsunami 7 years ago. TV Host Nate Berkus commented that people spent all of their time helping people that were worse off than them. In those initial moments after a disaster, it will be YOU who will be the first responders to help those worse off than you. A reader also told me about CERT she said “The CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) is the ground roots program of FEMA and is available in most cities in Utah and other states. It is basic training in light rescue, light fire suppression, first aid and organization. It trains you in how to care for yourself, your family and neighborhood in the case of a disaster. I highly recommend the program and encourage all to take advantage of the training.” You can learn more about CERT by clicking HERE. And if you want to help Japan right now, you can donate on the Red Cross website by clicking HERE (Remember, unfortunately, this is also a time when scam artists are out “collecting” money as well-so it’s a good idea to stick with well known organizations for donating your funds.)
6. FOOD STORAGE: So, I’ve heard people talking about food storage during this and I think there is something to be learned. I know a lot of you are thinking “a lot of good that food storage did to those whose homes aren’t standing.” And you’re right-sort of. In a natural disaster WHERE I HAVE TO EVACUATE, I most certainly will not be dragging around 300 pounds of wheat and what not. However, what about all the people in Japan that didn’t need to evacuate their homes? Some are with out power but I can guarantee all are a little nervous about what the food and water supplies will be like over the next couple of days and weeks. Food storage is definitely not a catch all for preparing for EVERY event. You will need your 72 hour kit and a good food storage to give you a wide base of preparation for any event-whether you are evacuated or need to hunker down in your home.
DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT let the pictures of homes destroyed act as reason to not have or quit working on your food storage-use it as fuel to create awesome 72 hour kits. Having to evacuate your home in a natural disaster is only one of the many emergencies that may happen and I can guarantee you for MOST of the emergencies that can happen to you (i.e. loss of job, rising food and gasoline costs, cut food budgets, blizzards, etc.) food storage CAN and WILL help you. Vaughn J. Featherstone said (in reference to worrying about losing you food storage when you need it most) “Don’t give this one more idle thought. There is a God in heaven whom we have obeyed. Do you suppose he would abandon those who have kept his commandments? He said, “If ye are prepared, ye need not fear.” (D&C 38:30.)”
Now it’s time to get more prepared! I know I’ll be going through 72 hour kits and double checking that I have everything I’ll need in an emergency, signing up for the Shake Out and re-evaluating what I’ve got. How about you?