Drop, Cover, and Hold On
January 17th, 1994 is a day I will never forget. I had fallen asleep on the floor the night prior and I was woken up in the early morning by what used to be the shelf in my closet. A 6.8 earthquake hit my southern California town; the epicenter only miles away. I can still remember my parents’ voices, shouting, making sure we were all okay. My dad ran to my brother's aid to retrieve the bookshelf that had fallen on him. Everyone gathered and made our way outside- the sky still dark at 4:30 in the morning. My dad left almost immediately with our neighbor to make sure every house had their gas turned off. That’s something I love about my dad. He always knows what to do in situations like that and is always willing to help. I know I’ll be safe with him around. After my dad got back, my family piled into our van to check on some close friends down the road. As I was getting in, someone accidentally slammed the sliding van door onto my little finger. Crying hysterically, I told my mom to take me to the hospital immediately. Her stern, but loving voice, responded by informing me that there were people that were much more injured than me and that the hospital would be full. I was shocked- the magnitude of what happened finally sunk into my young mind.
Later that day we reentered our home to check on the damage. The smell of syrup completely filled the air. It seemed nothing had stayed in any cupboard in the entire house. It took years for our community and our house to be completely put back together, but that earthquake was a real wake up call for many.
My dad secured all our furniture to the wall. Nothing was to be put on the wall above our beds (I still make sure to do this) and flashlights were loaded with batteries. Food storage became much more personal.
Utah has been gearing up to prepare itself for their next big earthquake (last one was 350 years ago). It is predicted to happen at any time. Today over 900,000 Utahns practiced during a drill at 10:15 am. Decide now to prepare yourself and your family. Here are some ways:
Step 1: Get a kit/supplies ready
· Here’s a good list of kit supplies: http://www.ready.gov/basic-disaster-supplies-kit
· Make sure everyone in your household has enough food/water for 72 hours to a week
· Put flashlights by every bed
· Make sure to have cash
Step 2: Make a Plan
· Set up a communication plan in the case that not all of your family is together
· Where do you meet, how will you contact each other?
Being prepared can help put you at ease in an emergency situation and allow you to help others. I hope you all look for ways that you can prepare you and your family!
Northridge Earthquake Damage, source: http://geopubs.wr.usgs.gov/fact-sheet/fs110-99/
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