Earthquake Safety

Don't Panic, Be Careful

Every second that passes is another second closer to the Big One, the not-so-fabled earthquake expected to hit Southern California in the not-so-distant future (we’re a couple decades overdue).

However, other places are not immune to earthquakes, as evidenced by the recent 5.8 earthquake that rattled the East Coast, so it is best to prepared for an earthquake anywhere. St. Genevieve can only do so much in the way of disaster drills as it has a very busy schedule to maintain.

“What drills?”, says junior Cristian Sanchez. It is an unfortunate but very true reality that our school may not be the most prepared when it comes to disasters with the most recent drills specifically for earthquakes held several years ago. So it is up to us as individuals or through our own families, to be prepared  for earthquakes.

1. Make a plan.

“[I have] procedures written up”, says sophomore Ian Kytlica. It is important to have some sort of plan in place such as an exit strategy for home, a “days after” plan, and the like. It does not have to be written but at the very least, have some sort of idea as to what you will do during and after an earthquake.

2. Gather supplies.

Gathering Supplies, a Family Affair

“I pack some of my usual clothes in a bag so that in an earthquake I can take some of my belongings with me, ” says freshman Arianne Ayapana.

Packing some clothes in case of an earthquake is one of the earliest steps you can take. It is not as hard as you think, few people (if any) should really be caring about their fashion sense during a disaster. Just pick something practical and get enough clothes to last a week or two, if you have the room. Having taken care of your clothing, the next steps you can take are: gathering nonperishable food items (canned soup, dry snacks, dehydrated food) and water, making or buying a first aid kit, and gathering flashlights, toiletries, and important medications. Sometimes, you may already have the supplies at home, just not centrally gathered.

“Every family is [generally] prepared… cause everyone [should] have water and band aids”, says junior Cristian Sanchez.

3. During an earthquake: If indoors, find a heavy desk or table to get cover under. If outdoors, find open spaces away from power lines, above ground gas lines, or any structures that can fall and or break. Remember to keep away from windows, indoors or outdoors.

Do not hide under a doorway! It is a myth that the doorway is the safest place in a building. The California Department of Conservation says that is only true if you live in an unreinforced adobe building (highly unlikely in the city of Los Angeles). Otherwise, doorways are only are strong as the rest of the building generally is, which means not very good odds for people hiding under them.

4. In the aftermath: Remain calm! Fear is your worst enemy. If you smell gas, alert someone about shutting down that line. If it cannot be shut down, evacuate your location immediately. If power lines are damaged, alert someone about shutting down at your central power box.

Panic: Looks like fun, Probably Isn't

Do not use your telephone or cellphone to make calls, only do so to alert emergency officials. It is actually better for you to text other people as texts take up less capacity on transmission lines than phone calls. Be prepared to hold-out with your supplies for a week but for the worst-case scenarios, you may need to prepare for the long-term self sufficiency, possibly more than a month. Who knows what can happen after the Big One?

All in all, the thought of an extremely destructive  earthquake may produce fear but despite our fears we must still prepare and if we are well prepared the aftermath of an earthquake will hopefully not be so bad.

We'll Get it Fixed Eventually...




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