Weather events such as extreme snow, ice, flooding, hurricanes and tornadoes are not uncommon events for much of the United States. But, what about earthquakes? Are you ready? This month the Federal Emergency Management Agency is urging residents to become "Earthquake Aware" by exercising a few safety measures. Beth Freeman, Regional Administrator for FEMA Region VII, says it is important to be prepared by reviewing earthquake safety tips and updating your home emergency plan.
In December of 2009, six different earthquakes, three of which were greater than 3.0 magnitude, rattled windows and shook the ground in various regions across Oklahoma, Arkansas, Nebraska and Missouri. In 2008 a 5.1 magnitude earthquake hit Mt. Carmel, Ill., causing damage to some buildings including a high school gymnasium, and was felt in 23 states. But, the largest series of earthquakes in the continental U.S. occurred along the New Madrid fault, in southeast Missouri in 1811 and 1812.
To prepare: 1/ Consider purchasing earthquake insurance; 2/ Buy a 20-gallon garbage can and fill it with emergency supplies; 3/ Consider retrofitting your home to make it more resistant to earthquake damage; 4/ Educate your children about earthquake safety; 5/ Anchor heavy furniture, shelves, cupboards and appliances to the walls or floor; 6/ Store dangerous chemicals in a secure place; 7/ Learn how to shut off the gas, electricity and water; and 8/ Have money in savings for post-catastrophic expenses that aren't covered by your earthquake insurance policy.