Like many of you, our hearts go out to those suffering in Mexico after the two large earthquakes that hit earlier this month. This month has been a sobering reminder that big things can happen and do happen with little warning.
The truth? According to this study, nearly half of Americans live in areas prone to earthquakes. (And let’s be honest, any one of us could be effected by a disaster at any time.) Unfortunately, we don’t know when a life-changing catastrophe will strike, but fear not! There is still time to get your house in order.
How do we know this?
Because if there weren’t, you wouldn’t be reading this–but neither is there time to waste, so the best time to start is now!
When you’re prepared, you can meet challenges with confidence. Instead of panic, hunger, and fear, you will stay clam, have a clear head, and a clear plan of action.
Here’s the best part, it doesn’t have to be complicated or stressful. Just like anything else, when you really understand what you are preparing for, everything you need to do become crystal clear. (No pun intended. 😉 I used to stress and guess about what to do to prepare until Debbie cleared it all up for me by breaking it down into manageable pieces. We’ll call it the law of 3’s: The First 3 Minutes, The First 3 Hours, and The First 3 Days.
STEP ONE: THE FIRST 3 MINUTES
In the midst of turmoil
Remember those fire drills you had as kids, where you put our pencils down, lined up at the door and calmly walked out to the playground? Fast forward to the present, do you and your family know what to do if there is a (fill in the blank)? Do you know what you would do to be safe? Now, imagine you are fast asleep when you are jolted to your senses by that fire alarm, tornado siren or earthquake. With your adrenaline pumping, it is easy to panic and bolt out of bed and into the darkness of the night unprotected and unprepared for circumstances you may encounter. Knowing what to do when you are awake and having a few items tied securely to your bed post, if you are sleep, can mean the difference between success and failure in finding your family and getting to a place of safety.
What you can do right now…
- Compile the tools you’ll need to keep safe in the moments during an “event”
- Learn the safest places to be for the possible disasters in your area
- Have a emergency bags, under your bed, in your office and car
- Prepare your family and children for an earthquake, check out our post with our 5 Fun and Easy Ways to Prepare Children for an Earthquake.
STEP TWO: THE FIRST 3 HOURS
First Things First
The rumbling has stopped, at least for the moment. Around you there is dust and debris, cries for help and the electricity is out. There are a few things you know you have to do. Find your family and get them to a safe location, if time and safety permit, take needed supplies, such as 72 hour and first aid kits. Treat life threatening injuries and next, inspect your house for fire or utility damage. As you complete these tasks you slowly become aware that your neighborhood has been greatly affected too. With your family safe your thoughts turn to your neighbors and a group of you go to check on the others. What happened? Eventually, someone hears on a radio that there has been a big earthquake. What kinds of supplies and training does your family need for: finding and contacting loved ones, treating injuries, staying safe, managing utilities, helping neighbors and determining what has happened all the while determining, is it safe to stay or should we go?
Nothing really prepares you to experience a major catastrophe, yet when it happens, your survival instincts kick in. In the still moments right after “IT” hits, you will have only a couple of things on your mind: family and safety. You will focus on the things that matter most to you, putting First Things First. Your areas of priority will include:
- Family headcount
- Treating life threatening injuries
- Grabbing emergency kits
- Determining stability of surroundings
- Helping others
What you can do right now…
- Have a good First-aid kit
- Learn how to turn off the natural gas to your house, if needed purchase the necessary tool and attach it to your shut-off valve.
- Prepare for communication: a battery powered radio, walkie talkies, and an external battery power for your cell phone
- Prepare a good family plan, more info HERE. Then practice, practice, practice your family plan
STEP THREE: THE FIRST 3 DAYS
Neighbors Helping Neighbors
The first three days will probably find most of you in somewhat of a daze, but “life” goes on. If you have experienced a major earthquake, severe storm or hurricane, you will have to get out of town or even the state to find relief. However with debris and damage to the roadways, staying home may be your safest choice. You will need some clothes, shoes and shelter to protect you from the elements and give you some privacy. Clean water, simple food, your medications and some light to see in the very dark night. If it not safe in your house or neighborhood, you may have to drive or even walk somewhere else. These circumstances are when your 72 hour kits will come into play. Something else to consider, is your family’s safety. Unfortunately, when disasters happen, the predators start roaming the streets, first looting the stores and then the neighborhoods. Working together with your neighbors and friends will prove invaluable as you help and protect one another
The FIRST THREE DAYS after “IT” happens and surprise, still no FEMA in sight. Where will most of your help and support come from…your neighbors! You will all have the need to survive, so you will help each other, sharing what you have, giving emotional support, banding together to shore up your homes and protect your families. You will by focusing on:
- Rescuing the trapped
- Treating the injured
- Finding Safe Shelter
- Personal needs (72 hour kits)
- Protecting your neighborhood and family
- Rummaging for keepsakes
What you can do right now…
- Look into CERT training so you are prepared to be a helper in your neighborhood, more info HERE.
- Know how to use your first-aid kit for basic injuries (consider CPR training or basic first-aid training, more info HERE)
- Prepare your 72-hour kits (if you need help you can check out our helpful posts HERE, HERE, and HERE…oh, and this one where we explain why store-bought kits are a rip-off!)
- Gather camping supplies and other shelter items
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