The number of earthquakes is increasing in the U.S., especially in the oil regions like Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico. The magnitude accumulated in these regions reached a total count of 938 in 2020 from 686 in 2019. In 2018, this number was 491.
Earthquakes are a common occurrence in the United States. They can be caused by several different factors, including natural processes and human activities. It's not that hard to understand why these earthquakes are taking place, but it's more important that we know how to prevent the loss of life and property from such natural disasters.
The most common way to reduce loss of life and property due to earthquakes is through earthquake early warning systems. These systems detect an earthquake's onset before it reaches the surface and then alert people who might be in harm's way so they can take cover or move away from buildings that might collapse.
However, it's impossible to predict when exactly an earthquake will happen or how strong it will be, even with the help of early warning systems. So, we must be prepared for them at all times.
With that in mind, let's look at how you can prevent loss and damage due to earthquakes.
Evaluate Your Home's Earthquake Resilience
If you live in a region that is prone to earthquakes, it's important to evaluate your home's earthquake resilience.
Earthquakes can cause significant damage to your home and its contents. The best way to prevent loss and damage is by making sure your home is built with earthquake resilience in mind.
An evaluation of your home's earthquake resilience will help you determine:
- The type of foundation your home has (e.g., slab, cripple wall, wood frame)
- What type of hazards exists in your area (e.g., flooding, landslides)
- Whether your home is built on a slope or near a fault line
- Whether your home has adequate insulation
- How much damage could be caused by an earthquake
The following steps can help you prepare for an earthquake:
- Check the structural integrity of your home by getting a professional inspection or doing it yourself.
- Make sure all electrical equipment, including outlets, switches, and lights, are properly installed and up-to-date with local codes and regulations.
- Be sure that all plumbing fixtures are properly installed and maintained according to local codes and regulations so they won't leak when the ground moves during an earthquake.
- If you have gas appliances in your home, make sure they're properly vented so gasses can escape safely during an earthquake without causing a fire or explosion inside or outside your house.
Get Insurance For Your House
To prepare your house for an earthquake, you should make sure to get insurance for your house. You can do this by using different insurance websites. Shake and Pay is one such platform where you can get the insurance coverage needed to protect your family, home, and other assets. Through this platform, you can secure coverage for full property damage, landscape damages, direct financial losses, loss of revenue and profit, etc.
Without insurance, there's no way to recover money from an earthquake-damaged property. So, don't forget to get earthquake insurance coverage for your house, especially if you're living in an earthquake-prone area.
Know How to Protect Yourself From Getting Hurt
Knowing how to protect yourself during an earthquake is the best way to keep yourself safe. There are several steps you can take to ensure your safety during a quake. Here are some of the most important ones.
- If you're indoors, stay there until you are sure the shaking has stopped. If outdoors, stay there until you know it's safe to move.
- Avoid areas that could collapse or fall on you, such as staircases and balconies.
- Stay away from windows and glass doors-they may shatter from the shaking.
- Crouch down and cover your head with your hands if possible. This will reduce the risk of injury from falling objects like ceiling tiles or light fixtures that might fall off walls when buildings start shaking violently.
- Once you feel it's safe, exit your building using stairs rather than elevators so that the power doesn't cut out before you reach the ground floor (which could cause an elevator crash).
Prepare an Emergency Kit
An earthquake emergency kit is a good idea for anyone living in an area that is prone to earthquakes. An earthquake emergency kit should contain the following items:
- At least one gallon of water per person for three days for drinking and sanitation.
- At least a three-day supply of non-perishable food.
- Flashlight with extra batteries.
- The first aid kit includes aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, cold medicine, allergy medicines, bandages, antiseptic ointment, and gauze pads. Also, keep a few doses of any prescription medication needed by individual members of your family.
- You must also have protective eyewear, dust masks, plastic sheeting, and duct tape in the emergency kit.
- Keep blankets or sleeping bags for each person in your family, plus one additional blanket per person for warmth. These bags and blankets should not be too heavy so that you can carry them with you if you need to move to an emergency shelter.
There are at least 50 earthquakes taking place every day across the world. Every year, the total number of earthquakes reaches the 20,000 mark. Of course, not all of them are strong enough to damage life and property. However, those that are can do so with utmost ruthlessness.
Every year, earthquakes kill over 20,000 people worldwide and destroy billions of dollars worth of property. So, it's vital that you take necessary precautions to protect yourself and your property during earthquakes, or at least contain the damages to a minimum.