It’s 2:15 in the afternoon, you have just finished your lunch and it’s time to settle back into your workload. As you begin to steady your thoughts on the tasks that lie ahead, the ground beneath your feet has a different idea. Your thoughts and body are no longer steady as the rumbling and shaking brings you to the floor. It’s an earthquake.
Do you know what to do? Do you know where your family members are? Do you have a plan? Do you have food and water to last you for three days? If not, perhaps it’s time to make a plan in case you are ever in this situation. You can start your preparation by joining in on our earthquake drill.
We advise our Lighthouse family’s to watch the video below as a part of our nation-wide Lighthouse Earthquake Drill. The video explains what to do during an earthquake so you can be prepared. Participating in an earthquake drill can save lives, so make sure it’s a top priority for your family this week. Additionally, we have outlined what to do during an earthquake, what you can do now to prepare, and how to respond after.
The ‘before’ is all about preparation, there are suggestions below for preparing an emergency kit and an emergency plan.
In you Emergency Kit:
There are two options for an emergency kit; you can buy a pre-made one for four people at the price of $275 from here. Alternatively you can make one at home. For those of you who do decide you want to make one at home, here is a list of items you may want to include in your kit:
• Torch with spare batteries or a self-charging torch
• Radio with spare batteries
• Wind and waterproof clothing, sun hats, and strong outdoor shoes
• First aid kit and essential medicines
• Blankets or sleeping bags
• Pet supplies
• Face and dust masks
• Check all batteries every 3 months
• Food and water for 3 days or more
• Non-perishable food (canned or dried food)
• Food, formula and drinks for babies and small children
• Water (at least 3 litres per person, per day) for drinking
• Water for washing and cooking
• A Primus or gas barbecue to cook on
• A can opener
• Check and replace food and water every twelve months
Along with your Emergency Kit, you should prepare an Emergency Plan.
During an earthquake many of us would experience panic, part of which might be panicking about what to do. Detailed below is the New Zealand government’s ShakeOut instructions for what to do during an earthquake; Drop, Cover and Hold.
• DROP down on your hands and knees. This position protects you from falling but allows you to still move if necessary.
• COVER your head and neck (and your entire body if possible) under a sturdy table or desk (if it is no more than a few steps away from you). If there is no shelter nearby, get down near an interior wall (or next to low-lying furniture that won’t fall on you), and cover your head and neck with your arms and hands.
• HOLD on to your shelter (or your position to protect your head and neck) until the shaking stops. Be prepared to move with your shelter if the shaking shifts it around.
Listed below are some steps to consider for after an earthquake has occurred.
• Listen to your local radio stations, as emergency management officials will be broadcasting the most appropriate advice for your community and situation.
• Expect to feel aftershocks.
• Check yourself for injuries and get first aid if necessary. Help others if you can.
• Be aware that electricity supply could be cut, and fire alarms and sprinkler systems can go off in buildings during an earthquake even if there is no fire. Check for, and extinguish, small fires.
• If you are in a damaged building, try to get outside and find a safe, open place. Use the stairs, not the elevators.
• Watch out for fallen power lines or broken gas lines, and stay out of damaged areas.
• Only use the phone for short essential calls to keep the lines clear for emergency calls.
• If you smell gas or hear a blowing or hissing noise, open a window, get everyone out quickly and turn off the gas if you can. If you see sparks, broken wires or evidence of electrical system damage, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box if it is safe to do so.
• Keep your animals under your direct control as they can become disorientated. Take measures to protect your animals from hazards, and to protect other people from your animals.
• If your property is damaged, take notes and photographs for insurance purposes. If you rent your property, contact your landlord and your contents insurance company as soon as possible.
Although we have made an effort to gather the most essential information for our Lighthouse Earthquake Drill, we recommend that you visit the official website of the New Zealand Ministry of Civil Defense for a more comprehensive overview on earthquakes and preparing for them.