Area officials suggest that citizens should prepare for a disaster based on an assumption that they would be on their own for 72 hours.
According to the Center for Earthquake Research and Information’s Web site (www.ceri.memphis.edu), families can prepare for an earthquake by having emergency kits in the home, car and office and taking some basic safety precautions.
Keep items in airtight plastic bags. Re-think your kit and family needs at least once a year and update batteries and clothes. Replace food and water every six months. Keep a smaller kit of supplies in the trunk of each car.
Important documents like insurance papers and copies of credit cards, birth certificates, and bank account information should be stored in a fire-resistant safe. Extra syringes, wipes and instruments to test blood sugar should also be included in a disaster kit for diabetics.
Everyone in the family should know how to turn off the gas and other utilities. Families should develop an emergency procedure plan that includes a place to meet if the family is separated. Memorize emergency telephone numbers.
Heavy objects such as wall units, book cases, and mirrors should be anchored to walls. Never put heavy objects over beds and try to keep them lower than the height of the shortest person in the family.
If an earthquake hits, stand under a well-built doorway, or hide under a strong table or desk. Stay away from windows or glass dividers.
If you are outside, stay away from buildings, trees, telephone and electrical lines. If you are driving, avoid underpasses and overpasses. Try to stop in a safe area and stay in the car.
After the earthquake, check for injuries and provide aid if necessary. Check for breaks in gas, water or sewage lines and look around to see if power lines are down. Check the building for damage or potential hazards and clean up spills. Listen to the news media for further instructions, and use the phone only in case of emergency.
Find out more about disaster preparedness at the American Red Cross web site at: www.redcross.org.