Be Prepared: Learn to Survive an Earthquake

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Unbeknownst to me, my own personal trip to the Wujo started last Friday as I was doing some research for this week’s “Getting Prepared” article.  The subject?  How to Survive an earthquake.  Shortly afterward, I started to get some alerts indicating seismic activity in Alaska.  No big deal, it happens all the time in Alaska.

Then, late Monday night I receive an alert indicating that there had been a 5.5 Mw earthquake about 200 miles from Denver.  Holy smokes.  Colorado?  How odd, I thought at the time.  Of course, as you all know, that was not the end of it.  On Tuesday morning a freak shaker hit Mineral, Virginia, 88 miles from the Nation’s capital. 

Learn to Survive an Earthquake

Was I spooked?   Just a bit.  After all, I had already written most of the article that follows.  How timely was that?  Way to coincidental for me.

Rumors of Man Made Earthquakes?

But wait.  There is more.  I started digging around and learned that there are rumors of man-made earthquakes and man-made storms circling around the net.  That gave me reason to pause.  After all, isn’t there a huge hurricane bearing down the Eastern seaboard at the moment?

Perhaps all this means is that the conspiracy theorists and nut jobs out there have salted the popular alternate press with speculation and hearsay but I don’t know, these sources seem credible and mainstream to me:

And then there is HAARP:  Based at a remote research station in Alaska, the HAARP project involves shooting extremely high frequency radar bursts into the upper reaches of the atmosphere to see what happens after particles of the ionosphere are temporarily excited.  Sounds like weather manipulation to me.  But to what end?  Based upon the lousy weather here in the Pacific Northwest this year (what summer?), the project certainly can not promote weather enhancement.

So what?  Defense?  But defense of what?  Control?  Control of what?  The question I have been noodling today is whether, using HAARP, the PTB are attempting to manipulate our weather and seismic energy in such a way that the resultant destruction will create much needed jobs for the working stiffs. And if that happens, who will get the credit?  The PTB of course.

Cripes.  This is depressing.  Enough of the Wujo.  Let’s get back to prepping.

How to Survive an Earthquake

There are three things you do when you start to feel the first tremble of an earthquake:  


This is something you practice.  It does not matter whether you are in your home, at school, at a shopping center or in a tall building.  You must initiate these three steps in order to protect yourself during an earthquake.   Practice makes perfect and, as a matter of fact, this is something we drilled monthly when I was a kid growing up in Seattle.

Specifically, when an earthquake strikes:

DROPDROP down to the floor.

COVER — Take COVER under a sturdy piece of furniture. If that is not possible, seek COVER against an interior wall and protect your head and neck with your arms. Avoid danger spots near windows, hanging objects, mirrors, or tall furniture.

HOLD — If you take cover under a sturdy piece of furniture, HOLD on to it and be prepared to move with it. HOLD the position until the ground stops shaking and it is safe to move.

Here are some other tips for making it through an earthquake safe and sound:

  • If you’re in a HIGH-RISE BUILDING, and you are not near a desk or table, move against an interior wall, and protect your head with your arms. Do not use the elevators.
  • If you’re OUTDOORS, move to a clear area, away from trees, signs, buildings, or downed electrical wires and poles.
  • If you’re on a SIDEWALK NEAR BUILDINGS, duck into a doorway to protect yourself from falling bricks, glass, plaster, and other debris.
  • If you’re DRIVING, pull over to the side of the road and stop. Avoid overpasses, power lines, and other hazards. Stay inside the vehicle until the shaking is over.
  • If you’re in a CROWDED STORE, do not rush for exits. Move away from display shelves containing objects that could fall.
  • If you’re in a WHEELCHAIR, stay in it. Move to cover, if possible, lock your wheels, and protect your head with your arms.
  • If you’re in the KITCHEN, move away from the refrigerator, stove, and overhead cupboards.
  • If you’re in a STADIUM or THEATER, stay in your seat and protect your head with your arms. Do not try to leave until the shaking is over. Then leave in a calm, orderly manner.

As our countrymen in Virginia and Washington DC are learning, aftershocks can and will occur.  Anticipate them.  Be prepared for aftershocks, and plan where you will take cover when they occur. They can occur in the first hours, days, weeks, or even months after the quake. This means you must keep drilling so that you and your family members react automatically when the shaking starts.

Steps to Prepare for and Earthquake in Advance, Before it Happens

Obviously, taking care of yourself while you are in the moment (with the Drop, Cover and Hold) is of utmost importance.  But there are also some other things you can do in advance to protect yourself from the big one.

  • Locate the safe places in each room of your home, workplace and/or school in advance. Walk around and inventory your options.  A safe place could be under a piece of furniture or against an interior wall away from windows, bookcases or tall furniture that could fall on you.
  • Practice drop, cover and hold on in each safe place. If you do not have sturdy furniture to hold on to, sit on the floor next to an interior wall and cover your head and neck with your arms.
  • Keep a flashlight and sturdy shoes by each person’s bed.
  • Bolt and brace water heaters and gas appliances to wall studs.
  • Bolt bookcases, china cabinets and other tall furniture to wall studs.
  • Hang heavy items, such as pictures and mirrors, away from beds, couches and anywhere people sleep or sit.
  • Install strong latches or bolts on cabinets. Large or heavy items should be closest to the floor.
  • Learn how to shut off the gas valves in your home and keep a wrench handy for that purpose.
  • Keep and maintain an emergency supplies kit in an easy to access location.

Keeping your Baby Safe

This is one area where extra precautions should be taken now, before you experience an earthquake.  I mention this specifically because most brochures and readiness books talk about kids, talk about pets, but ignore the special needs infants.

The most important thing you want to do – and do now – is to place the crib in a location where nothing is hanging on the wall above it. Also, keep the room free of any tall or heavy pieces of furniture. Furniture can both fall over and be thrown across the room. Be mindful of the dangers of broken glass, perhaps placing the crib away from a window or mirror as well.

Be sure to keep a minimum of a 72-hour supply of baby supplies such as formula, bottles, food, juices, clothing, disposable diapers, baby wipes and prescribed medications with your emergency kit.  It also would not hurt to keep an extra diaper bag with these extra items in your car.

And be sure to install latches on all cupboards (not just those young children can reach) so that nothing can fall on your baby during a quake.

A Resource for the Kids

FEMA has a great website that you can use to help educate your children or grandchildren about earthquakes.  It is colorful, lively, and fun.  Check out FEMA for Kids and then start your family on a program of monthly drills.  Don’t rely on the schools to do this for you.

What happens next?

I don’t know.  And that is the truth.  I have been through many quakes here in Washington State.  During the last big one in 2001, our house was fine but the neighbor’s home fell off its foundation.  It was not pretty.  As the events of the past 24 hours have shown, an earthquake can happen anywhere, anytime.

For your own safety and survival, your best insurance is to practice the drop, hold and cover and to prepare you home using some of the tips shown above.  What are you waiting for?

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

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Bargain Bin:  Below you will find links to some personal and BDS reader favorites and items from the current Amazon Top 10.

Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse: Although this is a book of fiction, it is also serves as a survival manual of sorts.  The depiction of society three years following a collapse is so very real that I could almost put myself in the same room as the members of the survival group that has banded together to protect each other as they live in a communal retreat.  The section on a bartering market was hugely insightful and gave me some idea of how it might work in a real, SHTF situation.  Considering when this was written, Patriots is eerily timely.

One Second After:  For many, the novel "One Second After" was a game changer that convinced them of the need to be prepared.  If you have not read this book, you really should.  This is my #1 pick when it comes to survival fiction.

LifeStraw Personal Water FilterThe Amazon Top Ten Most Wanted Survival and Outdoor Items   Backdoor Survival:  The LifeStraw is considered the most advanced, compact, ultra light personal water filter available. It contains no chemicals or iodinated resin, no batteries and no moving parts to break or wear out.  It weighs only 2oz. making it perfect for the prepper. There is also a larger sized LifeStraw Family currently available with free shipping.

Tac Force TF-705BK Tactical Assisted Opening Folding Knife 4.5-Inch Closed: FAVORITE! This is a great knife that is currently priced at about $8.65 with free shipping.  Not only that, it is ranked as the #1 best seller at Amazon in both the camping and hunting knives categories.  The reviews raved about this knife so I bought one, used it, and and can recommend it.  See The Inexpensive Tac-Force Speedster Outdoor Knife.

Note:  the price can vary by color so if you are not particular, scroll through the colors and save a couple of bucks.

Dorcy LED Wireless Motion Sensor Flood Lite: Don’t let the $20 price lead you to think this wireless flood light is wimpy. I have two of these and feel that these lights are worth double the price.  Using D-cell batteries, the Dorcy floodlight will light up a dark room or a dark stairway in an instant.  I can not recommend these enough.

Morakniv Craftline Q Allround Fixed Blade Utility Knife: ANOTHER FAVORITE KNIFE! Also known as the Mora 511, this is now my favorite knife. It is made of Swedish steel and is super sharp.  Many Backdoor Survival have emailed me indicating this is now their favorite knife too. I paid $12 for this knife; it was worth $12 and of course is a steal at $8.07.

FordEx Group 300lm Mini Cree Led FlashlightFAVORITE! Here we go with another flashlight.  At the time of this writing, this one is only $3.80 with free shipping.  It is super mini sized, bright and waterproof.  Plus, it uses a single, standard AA sized battery. Pictured is one that I own in green but they come in basic black as well as some other colors.

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Be Prepared: Learn to Survive an Earthquake — 8 Comments

  1. Great article, and a much needed reminder. Thank you:-))
    A little note on weather modification. Yes HAARP exists, as does
    cloud seeding. We can speculate all we want but the govt. and G.E. will always
    be tight lipped about the why’s. Vincent Schaefer, an employee of GE invented
    cloud seeding back in the mid 40’s, and has been used worldwide.

  2. SW: I would like your comments on the mail that George Ure published in his blog this mornig from an entity named Wujo Girl. Apparently she has about crashed his server due to the number of emails he is receiving asking for information on this person….she evidently rattled some readers big time.

    • I just got off the phone with George and he made no mention of his mail server being overwhelmed any more than usual. As far as a comment on Wujo Girl, there are a lot of things I do not understand. That said, just because I have not experienced something myself, does not mean it does not exist. I simply keep an open mind to what I call “possibilities”.

      • George’s mail server being overwhelmed is just a rumor from an individual I rec’d a msg from asking me if I had read George today and what did I think about Wujo Girl….I don’t know what to think was my reply to him. She mentions things I have read about over the past couple of years. Sounds very intelligent and believable however. We shall see as time goes by, but I am keeping my food and water in storage…..anything is possible. Lots of ground shaking going on around the world right now.

  3. My memories of surviving multiple earthquakes years ago was the need to store one’s jars/cans of food at ground level. My stores in those days were on shelves above my head in the laundry. Having half ones food store for the year broken and mixed with half a gallon of bleach didn’t do anything for my sense of security or temper. And from equal experience put toilet paper and women’s supplies above ground level so if water comes through your house they don’t get wet.

  4. Your advice regarding how to protect an infant/young children is very good, and an area most people overlook.
    Sadly, in the Christchurch earthquake there was a baby killed by a falling tv before the mother could get to it. If you live in an earthquake prone area, something to bear in mind.

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