1. Preparing the family
Create a family emergency plan that will include:
• Drilling what to do in case of an earthquake (drop, take cover under a piece of heavy furniture and hold on to it. )
• Choose a location where the entire family can meet up. The meeting place must be in an open area, close to home or somewhere accessible to all family members (for example, the public park).
• Talk to your children about the fact that there may be an earthquake. Teach them what to do if an earthquake strikes when they are at school or at home. Have the entire family practice this.
• Choose the safest areas in the house and instruct all family members to take cover there.
• Stay clear of heavy furniture, large windows, pictures, etc.
• Know where to shut off the gas, water and electricity. (If a gas leak is suspected, shut of the main line.)
• Prepare an emergency kit in advance that contains everything taught in the lesson on what is needed in an emergency, including:
o Battery-operated flashlight and radio (along with spare batteries).
o First-aid kit with antibiotic ointment, pain relievers, disinfectant, substances to disinfect water, dressings for wounds, adhesive bandages, tourniquet, splint, medications taken regularly by family members, spare glasses.
o Medical documents.
o Spare clothes, identification and money.
o Matches, candles, multipurpose knife and personal hygiene products.
o Special baby supplies.
• All of this must be in a safe and accessible location at home. All family members need to know where it is and how to use the items stored there.
• Beyond these preparations, you should also prepare financially by purchasing earthquake insurance.
Preparing the house for an earthquake
Earthquakes happen without warning. When an earthquake hits, you may feel:
• The ground or floor move.
• Lamp shades or hanging objects (planters) will rock.
• You may also experience dizziness.
• Animals may show signs of agitation - they may bite, scratch or kick.
People are generally not harmed by the actual earthquake. The most common causes of injury due to an earthquake are:
• Collapse of buildings or sections of buildings.
• Broken glass from windows and mirrors that have shattered (particularly in tall buildings).
• Falling heavy objects, furniture, electrical equipment, lamp shades.
• Fire due to gas leak or electrical short.
• Electrocution due to fallen electrical lines.
• Stress and fear that lead to heart attacks.
A. Preparations to reduce damage
• Before buying a house, check that it is earthquake resistant.
• Refrain from purchasing homes located on an active fault, unstable ground (that may slide or liquefy) or on a steep incline. In each of these cases, perform supplemental and special work to ensure that the structure is earthquake proof. To do so, you will need to consult with certified professionals.
• You should call in an engineer to inspect the building and provide recommendation to retrofit it if necessary.
• There are numerous and effective actions that can be performed independently to strengthen accessories and furniture.
B. Preparing the kitchen
During an earthquake, family members may be hurt by broken glass, spray from dangerous cleaning products or by falling objects. You can do the following:
• Install a lock or latch on drawers and kitchen cabinets to ensure that they stay shut during an earthquake. (Magnetic devices are not strong enough.) Story heavy kitchenware on the bottom shelves.
• Install a "barrier" on open shelves to stop stored items from falling. Use silicone or Velcro to attach fragile items.
• Pack fragile dishes well and store them in a box at the bottom of the cabinet.
• Strengthen lamp shades, wall clocks, hanging planters and hanging kitchenware.
• Install a flexible gas line.
• Block heavy devices on wheels.
C. Hazardous materials
• Only store materials that are used regularly at home.
• Store ammonia and bleach separately. When the two substances mix, they create toxic gases.
• Store pesticides, kerosene, paint thinner, etc. on a low and well-closed shelf, in a cabinet that is attached to the wall.
• Install a safety cable on open shelves where you store bottles or containers in order to prevent them from falling on the floor.
• Make sure that caps on containers are screwed on tightly.
• Store kerosene in evaporation-proof containers.
• In case of a gas leak, shut off the gas lines and evacuate from the site of the leak.
• If there is a leak of hazardous materials, when you smell a strong odor - cover your airways with damp cloths and move away from the smell.
• Preparing the bedroom is to to prevent people from harm due to falling objects, to provide a clear evacuation path and to ensure access to essential devices (flashlight, glasses, shoes, robe or clothes, essential medications, transistor radio).
• Perform the following:
o Attach furniture such as dressers and closets. bookcases to the wall. These can be strengthened by drilling through the back of the furniture item (make sure that the back is attached well to the sides of the item and that it is strong enough). If the back of the furniture item is not strong enough, attach it to the wall using angles. If there are several bookcases next to each other, they should be connected in addition to attaching them to the wall. This will make them more stable.
o Do not hang pictures or mirrors where they may fall on people, for example over a bed/couch.
o To the extent possible, do not not position bookcases in the path to exit the room, to ensure that they do not block passage.
o Store heavy items at the bottom of the closet.
o Close closets and drawers with fasteners and locks.
• The greatest danger in a bathroom is from broken glass - mirrors, bottles and falling medications, that break and scatter. Although more and more products are currently sold in plastic bottles, there are still products (perfume, for example) that are sold in breakable glass bottles.
• Make it a point to purchase products in unbreakable containers. Do not place breakable containers in the bathtub or shower.
• Close the medicine cabinet with a childproof lock.
• Only place light objects such as towels on open shelves.
• Store cleaning products on bottom shelves of cabinets that are closed with a fastener or lock.
F. Living room, dining room, office
• Anchor computers, stereo systems, televisions, video devices, etc. to the piece of furniture on which they rest. This can be done with Velcro, cables or ropes. The device is to be attached to a table or wall.
• Mirrors and pictures are to be hung with round hooks. For large mirrors or pictures, we recommend using two hooks.
• Do not hang pictures or mirrors where they may fall on people, for example over a bed/couch.
G. Storage rooms and utility rooms
• The hot water heater should be attached to the wall or floor with cables.
• The water and gas lines leading into the boiler should be flexible.
• Store flammable or toxic materials in resistant containers that are clearly labeled. Store these containers on low shelves, in a cabinet with a door with a stronger fastener. It is advisable that they be stored in a well-ventilated room.
• Wood-burning stoves or fireplaces must be well anchored to the floor.
• You should have fire extinguishers at home.