When the earth starts shaking, it may be too late. Don’t let another month go by without taking the basic steps needed to prepare your family for a major earthquake.
April is Earthquake Preparedness Month and AAA Northern California is reminding residents that the best way to recover from a quake is to plan for it in advance.
“One of the most important steps homeowners can take is to document their belongings before tragedy strikes,” advised AAA NCNU spokesperson Cynthia Harris. “Take the time to do an inventory of your home, either with photographs or a video camera. Then, store those records in an off-site location like a safe deposit box.”
AAA Earthquake Safety Tips
- Create an earthquake survival kit. This is one of the most important steps you can take. The kit should include canned goods and can opener, two to four quarts of water per person per day, battery operated or hand crank radio, sanitary supplies, a camp stove, portable radio, flashlight and spare batteries, and tools to turn off utilities.
- Know how to shut off your home’s gas, water and electricity. You should also make sure your water heater is securely fastened to a wall or post with two metal straps.
- Conduct family earthquake drills. Make sure everyone knows which areas in a room are the safest. This may be underneath a table or against a wall. Stay away from windows, fireplaces and tall furniture.
- Decide where your family will reunite if you’re separated. Choose a friend or relative you can call after an earthquake to let them know your location and condition. Phone lines are often overloaded or damaged in an earthquake and specifying one point of contact for your entire family will help avoid a strain on the system.
- Childproof your cabinet doors. It may seem like an annoyance initially, but installing latches on your cabinet doors can prevent them from flying open in an earthquake. By properly securing the doors you can keep precious belongings from spilling out and breaking.
- Check your insurance for earthquake coverage. Knowing what coverage you have can help speed up your recovery after a big quake. Most homeowners policies do NOT cover damage resulting from an earthquake, and in most cases a separate earthquake endorsement or policy is needed. You can find out more at AAA.com/insurance.