Radius Security's Blog providing security advice, safety tips, and various news articles to help you better secure your home or business.

13
Apr
2011

Are You Ready for the Big One?

April 13th, 2011 | by admin admin | in Safety Advice |    0   

 

Aftershocks have continued to rock Japan since its 9.0 earthquake in March. Although the B.C. Coast’s last 9.0 quake struck on January 26, 1700, the next one could hit any day, without warning. Are you prepared?

Depending on its severity and location, an earthquake can mean fire, entrapment, electrical hazards and gas leaks. Your building’s structural integrity and falling debris can also affect your risk of injury.The key to surviving a massive earthquake is to be physically and mentally prepared.

So, step one is to create a disaster plan. The British Columbia Provincial Emergency Preparedness Program offers a broad range of resources to help you. Vancouver Fire and Security, Radius’ parent company, also offers earthquake preparedness safety training. This course covers disaster planning for the workplace, but most of the strategies apply equally well to home safety.

Some tips for earthquake-proofing your home or workplace:

  • Place all breakable or heavy objects on lower shelves.
  • Secure tall or heavy furniture that could topple -- such as wall units, bookcases and trophy, china or file cabinets.
  • Put latches on cabinet doors to hold them closedvduring shaking.
  • Keep flammable or hazardous liquids such asvpaints and cleaning products in a locked cabinet, preferably away from common areas.
  • Attach the hot water tank to the wall (at the top) as this may be your only water source after the quake.This may also help prevent gas leaks from broken gas lines.
  • Have an emergency kit available. Know what it contains and how to use it. This may include first aid supplies and medications.
  • Learn how to shut off utilities. These may include electrical panels, natural gas shut-off valves and water lines.
  • Store an emergency cache of food and water along with other necessary items like a flashlight, a portable radio, extra batteries and extra clothing.

If a massive earthquake does strike, try to stay focussed, despite any momentary panic. Get under a table or stand in a corner or doorway until the shaking stops. Stay away from any shelving or cabinets.

After the shaking stops, check for injuries and apply basic first-aid. Don’t use your telephone unless there is an extreme medical emergency. Checkfor fire, gas leaks and breaks in electrical wires. If you smell gas, open windows and doors, and turn off anything that might spark. That includes not using electrical switches and appliances. Go through your emergency kit and checklist (which you prepared ahead of time, right?).

Don’t be surprised if the trauma continues to affect you, your family and your co-workers for weeks or months afterward. Professional counsellors can help you work through anxiety issues or depression.

As the people of Japan have shown, staying calm and being prepared are critical during a natural disaster. It could save your life.


Author: Susanna Chu


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