For those of us who live in high-risk areas of the country, earthquake education is a critical part of being prepared for the next big one. For those of us living in cities that have so many earthquake faults that most of them are potentially dangerous and for homeowners in areas where an earthquake is likely to occur, knowing what to do during the event is essential. At the least, it can save a lot of property and money and possibly even lives.
Earthquake faults are essentially “unstable” surfaces where motion is typically rapid and the earth’s surface is not too soft. The ground under a fault can move sideways and this movement can be up or down. Faults move too quickly to permit building and movement will generally be stopped within about 24 hours of the event.
A common event that happens in some parts of the world is the slip and slide. When large rocks or boulders slide and lose their grip on the ground and slide downhill, they create damage that is often accompanied by loud and damaging shaking. Sliding rocks can also be responsible for landslides and they do not just roll downhill.
When an earthquake occurs and a large rock or boulder slides and is dislodged, what can you do to protect your property? As long as you’ve followed local building codes and designed your home and building well, you probably have several choices. Your choice may be to hire an experienced quake safety consultant to come in and assess your property. If you don’t know how to do this yourself, it is probably a good idea to hire a professional.
They will evaluate the buildings, structures and other features of your home and may design a more secure solution. In addition, they will usually want to know whether you have an emergency plan in place and if your home has adequate earthquake resistant features. It is also a good idea to keep your family and your pets inside during the evacuation period. This will minimize the risk of animal deaths due to exposure to high levels of carbon monoxide.
Perhaps the most important piece of earthquake education is avoiding any building structures that are located near a fault. Of course, if your house is near one, you must decide whether or not you need to build your home on or above ground level and not in a basement or crawl space. There are other factors to consider as well and many of them are financial.
It is very difficult to rebuild after an earthquake, so be sure to get pre-approved insurance for the amount of rebuilding you’ll need. Then take your time shopping around for a new home and put together a list of all the items you’ll need and a budget. Make sure you take pictures and also that you have a backup plan should things go wrong and you become homeless.
Earthquake education is really all about being prepared. All too often people don’t have earthquake insurance and it’s extremely difficult to rebuild your home if the foundation collapses and your home is lost. Be sure to make a list of these disasters and learn how to deal with them if they do happen to you.