By now the world over has heard the heartbreaking news of Saturday's 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Nepal. With the death toll at 4,000 and expected to rise, the devastation is beyond imagination. The injured numbers more than 7,000. Rescue efforts are underway for two hundred climbers stranded on Mount Everest by an avalanche triggered by the quake. International aid had already begun even as aftershocks continued to tremble the ground.
Hurricanes, tornadoes, tropical storms. Today's technology has allowed us a heads up in the event of those, sometimes they can be narrowed down to the very moment of arrival. Tornadoes can be unpredictable but meteorologists are able to predict the possibility of them and once located, are able to track them fairly accurately. But earthquakes...
Earthquakes are not as easy to predict. For years seismologists have been predicting a large earthquake would hit the area of the Himalayas between India and Nepal. And this was certainly it.
Earthquakes are terrifyingly destructive particularly for those regions where high seismic activity and low quality construction meet. However, earthquakes can happen almost anywhere, at any time so preparedness is key.
Earthquake Preparedness Tips
- Assemble an emergency kit. Medicines, first aid supplies, food and water.
- Make and practice a family escape/communication plan factoring in many different scenarios. Ex: What will you do if you're at work and you're children are at school? Know your safety zone.
- Secure and/or brace shelving, mirrors, breakables. overhead light fixtures, etc.
- Move breakable dishes, glassware to lower cabinets.
- Install safety latches on cabinetry to prevent breakables from falling out.
- Secure hazardous chemicals in lower cabinets with safety latches.
- Hire a professional to assess the building's structure and follow their suggestions.
- Call your gas company. In higher risk areas, gas companies may install an automatic shut-off valve that is triggered by ground vibration.
- Make needed repairs to foundation, cracks in walls, or any other structures that are in need.
For more information on Earthquake safety go to http://www.ready.gov/earthquakes.
Be Smart. Be Safe. Think OSHATOES®.