Follow Your Plan During an Earthquake or Other Emergencies

You are getting a good night sleep and are happily dreaming, when all of a sudden you are thrown out of bed.  You feel disoriented and confused.  Your wife is screaming and the kids are crying.  You get to your feet and try to find a flashlight.  Now this is easy because you kept one in the dresser next to your bed.  The batteries are in good shape and you look around and realize you have been hit with an earthquake.

What do you do next?  You check on your wife and kids.  After you have calmed them down and treated them for minor injuries, you start to look around.  You realize that your home is heavily damaged.  You go outside and you can see that the neighbor’s homes are damaged.  One of the neighbors comes up to you and asks for your help at digging his wife out.  After getting her rescued, you help treat minor injuries on a couple of other people.

By now, it is starting to get light and you are getting a bit hungry.  So you start thinking about your preps and how glad you are that you have a well-stocked basement.  By now, you have heard on a radio that this is a major earthquake that covered a large area and that thousands have been killed or injured.  It looks like it will be a while until help arrives.

So now, you decide a few hours after the earthquake to go and start getting out your preps and help some of your neighbors.  So you go to the basement stairs and start to remove debris that is blocking them.  You hear a sound and realize it is the sound of water running from a broken pipe.  The basement is filling with water.  You run and find the water shut off.  This takes you a few minutes because of a downed tree.

You return to your home and finish clearing the stairs.  You look down and see at least a couple of feet of water.

Now you have to face the fact that you never considered the problem of the basement flooding. Many of your preps are sitting on the floor and are now well on their way to becoming useless.

Don’t end up by facing this type of situation; you need to have a standard operating procedure on what to do after an earthquake, hurricane or any other major disruption.  While treating serious injuries should always be your highest priority, protecting your supplies and preps should be high on this list.  Don’t let yourself get distracted from important tasks by lesser ones.  During an emergency, it is easy to lose track of what is important.  Make a plan ahead of time and be sure to cover the important points.  Here are a few links that may help you.


1 thought on “Follow Your Plan During an Earthquake or Other Emergencies”

  1. Absolutely have a SOP, preferably written as a checklist. Most of us tend to operate at somewhat less than full mental capacity when jolted awake in the middle of the night, and the stress of an earthquake can can easily degrade your thinking even further. A checklist effectively allows you to take your very best, clearest, calmest, most alert thinking and capture it for use under stress. I suggest that the first two items on your checklist (even before checking on your kids) should be:

    (1) Check yourself for injuries — first responders like EMTs are trained to always take care of themselves first, and you should do the same. That’s not being selfish; it simply recognizes that without a properly functioning rescuer there can be no rescues.

    (2) Put on your shoes — it costs a few seconds, but slicing your bare feet on broken glass in the dark will put a sudden end to your efforts to be helpful as well as adding that much more load to the medical system.

    Since I certainly don’t expect to remember my own checklist in the emotional confusion following a real earthquake, I tie a bag to my bed containing a flashlight, a copy of my checklist, shoes, work gloves to protect my hands if I have to move debris, and a helmet (a bike helmet is fine) to protect my noggin from smashing against big hard things that are no longer where they’re supposed to be. Then I only have to remember one thing: “find the bag”.

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