Earthquake Preparedness is a Family Affair

This Little Girl Will Survive an Earthquake For SureFor families with children, earthquake preparedness is a project for the whole family.

Are you prepared for an earthquake? Do you think your family knows what it needs to do to survive one? Will your family be able to recover quickly after an earthquake? Any earthquake plan you make needs to include your children. Read on for some helpful ideas on preparing your children for the Big One.

Infants and Toddlers

  • For infants and toddlers, you really need to think in terms of making their environment as safe as possible.
  • Your baby’s crib should be placed well away from windows and tall furniture that could slide or topple on to them in their crib.
  • Any emergency kit you make for yourself needs to include at least a 72-hour supply of extra water, formula, bottles, food, juices, clothing, disposable diapers, baby wipes, a change of clothing and prescribed medications especially for your baby. You may not be a fan of disposable diapers, but post-earthquake is the ideal time to take advantage of their convenience. Keep another set of the same things in your car too.
  • Think about what you will need to be able to evacuate your baby. A stroller? A baby backpack? You may have to walk some distance so think in terms of what will be best for you to carry your emergency supplies and your baby.
  • Do you have bumper pads in your baby’s crib? They will cushion your baby during earthquake shaking.
  • Install kid-safe latches on all cupboards (not just those young children can reach) so no heavy or breakable shelf items come tumbling down on your baby during an earthquake.

Preschool & School-age Children

What Do You Put in Your Kid’s Earthquake Go-bag?
Why, as much as they can carry comfortably for their size, including their favorite small toys, games, and snacks. A child old enough to carry a backpack like this is old enough to shoulder their own little earthquake go-bag. Here are things to include:

  • A bag that your child can carry easily. Something big enough to hold everything, but small enough to slide under their bed. A child’s backpack would work well.
  • A bungee cord to attach it to the bed – you don’t want it bouncing away before you ever get to use it!
  • An easy-to-use, kid-friendly flashlight with batteries stored separately
  • Shoes
  • Socks
  • Bottled water
  • High calorie snack items that you know your child will eat.
  • Whistle
  • A change of clothes, like sweats.
  • A toy, small game or book
  • A copy of your family emergency wallet card
  • Important! A recent photo of you with your child. If you are separated, this could be the best means of being reunited.

Optional items for your kid’s earthquake go-bag:

  • Transistor radio, depending on the age of your child
  • Playing cards or other small games
  • Teddy Bear
  • Pen and paper
  • A favorite book
  • Dust mask/bandanna
  • Protective goggles
Posted in You Are More prepared Than You Think You Are

The Top 5 Ways to Protect Your Cat – Some Feline Specific Disaster Advice for Cat Owners

Withnail and Marwood are ready for an earthquake

Withnail and Marwood are ready for an earthquake

Your furry cat pals may be able to sense earthquake P-waves, but they are not going to be able to tell you about it. How will you make sure your cat safely lands on his feet after an earthquake? Making sure he rides out the quake safely will be made much easier by the things you do before an earthquake hits.  Learn the top 5 things to do to make your cat safe during and after an earthquake.

Between now and the time of the next earthquake, develop a plan so your purring pal will be taken care of. So where’s a good place to start?

Safe Kitty Needs a Safe Owner
You can start by earthquake-proofing your home by using our “Get Ready Quick” pages to guide you to preparedness. The best preparation you can make for your kitty is to prepare yourself by securing your home to shelter-in-place.

Your shelter-in-place-with-kitty plan must include a tricked-out little earthquake kit for your cat. Our pet emergency kit page provides a helpful list (link), but cats do have a few special needs. If you have not vaccinated your cat, do so now and keep a copy of the vaccination records in your kitty kit. Also be sure to include your cat’s favorite toys and treats, because there is every chance that as master of his Universe, your cat will blame YOU for the earthquake. You’ll need those treats to convince him of your continued benevolence. Keeping your kitty stores with your home earthquake kit is a great idea.

The cat litter you keep on hand for your fuzzy friend can serve a double-duty as a dry-toilet for those post-quake days. Here’s how you make one.

Teach Your Kitty to be Held
There is another important step to accomplish between now and the next earthquake. Try teaching your cat to be comfortable with being picked up and held.

Teaching Mr. Furrball how to accept being picked up now is essential, since after an earthquake, you may have to pick him up and hold him, and you don’t want a cat-fight right after an earthquake.

Try picking your cat up and holding him at least once a day till he is comfortable with being handled. Cats hate being told what to do (so like humans), so try to make the picking up fun, and don’t do it for very long. Learning how to be held will make vet visits easier too. If your cat is tough to pick up and hold, this guide to teaching your cat to be handled can help.

Kitty-Proof Your House After a Disaster
A post-earthquake house or apartment may present new problems for keeping kitty safe. Be on the lookout for spilled cleaning fluids or other toxic-to-kitty spills. An indoor-only cat may be very interested in new openings to the outside created by earthquake shaking. Believe us, your cat will find new openings to the out-of-doors before you do.

You can cover up broken windows with plywood or heavy cardboard. You may also want to move furniture in front of broken windows to stop kitty’s outdoor adventure in its tracks.

Make a Feline Go-Plan
If it turns out your home is no longer safe, you may have to evacuate. If you need to evacuate your home, don’t leave kitty behind! This is part two of your prepared kitty quake plan. Figure out now what you will need to do to take kitty with you.

Unless you are one of those cat people who have trained their purring pal to walk on a leash, you will need to have a carrying case of some type to get kitty from A to B. You probably already have some sort of box or case to take your cat on those dreaded vet visits. For quake preparedness’ sake, make sure your carrying case is big enough to be comfortable for kitty for long intervals. Soft-sided or hard-sided cases both work. It is up to you to decide what is right for your kitty.

Your local emergency shelter may not accept pets. For example, Red Cross shelters do not accept pets. So now is the time to find a pet-friendly hotel, investigate emergency pet shelters, or make arrangements to stay with an out-of-town friend who is cool with kitty. For more ideas on where you might stay, check out our blog post on preparing your dog.

Get a Rescue Alert Sticker
While you are doing all this preparing, why not get Rescue Alert Sticker for your door? Did you know you can get them for free from the ASPCA? It lets emergency personnel know your kitty is inside when they show up. Emergency personnel are yet another reason to teach your kitty how to be picked up.

Need even more information? Visit CalEMA, Ready.gov, 72Hours.org, and the American Humane Society. Get your feline friend earthquake ready today!

Posted in Pets Galore

Baby’s First Earthquake Kit

Hunter and TeddyBabies experience a lot of firsts: first teddy bear, first blankie, first pair of shoes, first roll-over, and first tooth. But what about first earthquake? First emergency? To ensure that those firsts are not any more traumatic than all of baby’s other firsts, put together your baby’s first earthquake kit. You can make it from all the things you already keep on hand to keep baby healthy and happy. Think of it as a baby version of your own personal earthquake kit . For baby’s first earthquake kit, remember the 72-hour rule . Include enough supplies for your baby’s needs for at least three days.

Ingredients

  • Diapers: Even if you are not a fan of disposable diapers, you will want them in your baby quake kit. Diaper services are unlikely to be operating right after an earthquake, and you also may not have enough water for regular laundry.
  • Baby wipes: Everyone should have baby wipes in their kit for personal cleaning, even babies. Include a pack for everyone in the family.
  • Bottled water: Enough water to keep baby hydrated for at least three days.
  • Baby formula and baby food: Stow away in the kit some shelf stable food supplies you know your child will consume.
  • Pacifier and teething ring: Soothing the baby is obvious, and when things are out of whack, babies need even more soothing.
  • Diaper rash and antibiotic creams: Staying clean may be harder, antibiotic cream and diaper rash cream provide stop-gaps for preventing infection.
  • Baby appropriate first aid kit: Childrens’ pain relievers, medications, small band-aids and other first aid supplies suitable for baby.
  • Warm change of clothing: hat, mittens, coat, long pants, long sleeved shirt, socks, shoes.
  • Favorite toy: Buy a duplicate of your child’s favorite toy and include it in your baby kit.
  • Bandana or hankie to use as dust mask
  • Body baby carrier: Even if you prefer to use a stroller, this will come in handy if you have to climb stairs or walk over rough ground with your baby. It will also keep your hands free to carry emergency supplies.
  • Small blanket to use for warmth and play area.
  • Flashing LED with attachment (to put on baby so people will see him in the dark).
  • Large, heavy duty trash bag to keep used diapers in.
  • Bungee cord to attach the go-bag to underside of crib.
  • Bag to keep it all in: Pick a bag that will hold all your baby needs and that you can carry.

In addition to these essentials, you may want to add:

  • Stroller, rolling bassinet, or rolling crib stored near bag: A stroller can provide another place to put the things from your baby earthquake kit. Keep in mind however, that post-earthquake there may be rubble that makes navigating with a stroller close-to impossible.
  • Second edition of all the above stored in your car: Put your baby’s car go-bag right next to your own.

Once you have baby’s quake kit pulled together, your limited sleep will not be curtailed by worrying about the next earthquake. Make that baby earthquake kit today!

Photo Credit: Elsie Escobar on Flickr

Posted in Disaster v. Preparedness, You Are More prepared Than You Think You Are

5 Ways to Earthquake Proof Your Baby

newborn feet by Sean DrellingerYour baby has just arrived, so exciting! It is a time of sleepless nights, joy, and new experiences. You’ve done what you can to prepare your home and life for this tiny new person. But is your new baby ready for an earthquake?  Are you?

It’s not hard to make baby earthquake safety plans.  Do you have a home emergency kit? Have you figured out an emergency plan for your whole family? Do you know how to drop, cover, and hold on? Being earthquake ready yourself will make looking after your baby post-quake so much easier!

If you look at our Get Ready Quick pages, we offer easy-to-understand instructions on securing furniture and other items in your home.  Now is the time to take a good look at your baby’s room and figure out what needs to be secured for earthquakes.

Here are 5 top ways you can make baby safe

      1. Are there bookcases or cabinets in your baby’s bedroom?  You can secure a bookcase in just a few minutes using earthquake straps or L-brackets.  When we visited Telstarlogistic’s home, we found that he had a tchotchke-covered bookcase directly above his daughter Miel’s bed!  We helped him fix that problem in a hurry so Miel would not experience a rain of tchotchke while she was sleeping.
      1. Now is also the time to get child-proof latches for your cabinets, so their contents do not go flying around the room during a quake.  You will need them once your baby reaches toddler stage for certain, so why not put them in today to make those cabinets earthquake-safe.
      2. First5 LA recommends using baby-bumpers in your baby’s crib or bassinet, so when an earthquake strikes, she will be safe and secure when sleeping.
      3. Also you need to remember to drop, cover, and hold on when an earthquake strikes, even if your baby is in the next room. You will not be much help to your baby if you get brained by falling debris while running through your house in an earthquake!
      4. Be sure to only put soft, light items over your baby’s crib, no glass framed pictures, or heavy artwork.  Also pay attention to how those ever-so-entertaining mobiles are secured to the ceiling or crib.  Be sure to secure it with earthquake safe hooks so it doesn’t fall down. Your little one will no longer think its fun if it falls on her and you have to untangle her from it after the earthquake. Why give her a reason to cry or be afraid if you can avoid it?
      5. Put a go-bag for baby together and keep it under the crib. Think of it as the supplies you always carry when you go out with her for the day.  The go-bag should have everything you need to take baby away for three days.  Think about the daily needs your baby has, such as formula, diapers, baby wipes water, pacifier, blanket and change of clothes, then put three days worth of those needs in her go-bag. Latch it to the crib leg with a bungee cord, hooked short and tight so baby can’t get her hands between the ropes.

You will be so pleased that you have planned ahead for you and your baby for the next earthquake.  It is easy and will make any emergency less of a worry.  Then, years from now, you can happily tell your daughter the story: “You don’t remember, but when you were a baby, there was a big earthquake, and the whole house shook!”

Photo credit: Sean Drellinger on Flickr.

Posted in Earthquake Professionals

Far From Home When an Earthquake Hits?
You Need A Car Kit!

We can’t predict when an earthquake will strike. One thing we can predict, however, is that if an earthquake strikes when you are far from home, you’ll be glad you made an earthquake kit for your car.

Think of your car earthquake kit as a car-centric replica of your personal grab-and-go bag. Outfit it for yourself and whoever else will be riding with you when you are away from home. As long as you have a working car radio, you can cross that item off your car emergency kit list. Here are items you will be very glad to have in your car emergency kit:

Correct trunk by State Farm on Flickr

  • A bag or car box for storing your emergency goodies
  • A flashlight with batteries stored separately, or a solar/crank flashlight
  • Spare Shoes
  • Spare Socks
  • Work gloves
  • Whistle
  • Water-enough for each person for 72 hours
  • Emergency cash in small bills-ATMs may not be working
  • Dust mask/bandana
  • High calorie snack items
  • First aid kit
  • Multi-tool or toolkit
  • Car charger for your phone

Since it is a car and not a backpack, you can go a bit further. Consider adding warning flares, blankets, extra socks & mittens, an inverter for running electronics off your car battery, and a shovel. Consider it your home earthquake kit on wheels.

Make your car a rolling earthquake safety zone. Outfit your car with an earthquake kit!

Photo Credit: Correct Trunk by State Farm on Flickr.

 

Posted in In The News
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