Earthquakes are a fact of life in California, and unfortunately especially in “vacation towns” many are not prepared to deal with such disasters. Disaster relief agencies typically report that most victims of natural disasters were not prepared to deal with events such as earthquakes, fires, floods … and even a loss of electricity that extends more than 12 hours.
The first 72 hours after a natural disaster are critical. Are you prepared?
If there is damage to your area and you are OK – put an “OK” sign on your door or in your window to let emergency responders know to skip your home so they can look for critical victims. Every second counts.
If you need help – put a sign on your door or in your window saying “HELP”.
Following a disaster, water and power services for vital community facilities such as hospitals, fire and police stations get first priority. Since restoration of utility and other public services to individual residences could be delayed, you need to provide for yourself, your family and your pets.
Remember – the more you prepare for a disaster, the better your chances are for survival.
Planning and discussion pre-disaster help to avoid injury and panic during and earthquake or other emergency. Here are some tips to discuss and plan for:
Know how to turn off the following services to your home, and in your apartment:
It is critical to be able to TURN OFF these items, especially water, as water sources are often immediately contaminated after a disaster.
7 Gallons of water per person will last about two weeks if rationed properly.
Have canned foods on hand
Flashlight with fresh batteries
Immediately after an Earthquake:
DO NOT TURN ON LIGHTS OR ELECTRICITY OR USE MATCHES
Sparks from a light or flame can cause a fire.
Shut off your gas ONLY if you hear or smell a gas leak
Do NOT disconnect utilities unless there is a hazard, just DON’T USE THEM until you know it is safe.
If you hear crackling or smell smoke, turn off all electricity. Find the breaker box outside your building or in a hallway or closet. Try to make sure you turn the power off AT the circuit box. If you don’t know where these things are, now would be a great time to go find out!
Check around your home for damaged or downed power lines. If you see a downed power line DO NOT go near it. Always assume power lines are live.
Don’t touch a chain link fence. There may be a power line down out of your sight that is touching the fence. If you are in a car hit by a power line DO NOT GET OUT. Stay in the car and wait for help. If you have to get out, make sure you do not touch the metal parts of the car and the ground at the same time. The safest method is to open the door, stand on the door sill and jump out without touching the car.
Following an earthquake, check water supply lines by turning water faucets on and off. If the cold water stops running, runs slowly or is dirty, you have a leak. There are two locations to shut off your water in case of a leak or broken pipe. The first is the master wheel valve located where the water service first enters the home. The other valve is the curb valve located at the water meter between the meter and the curb. To shut off water, turn the valve CLOCKWISE. Emergency water can be obtained from canned vegetables, melted ice and a water heater.
EMERGENCY WATER AND POWER PHONE NUMBERS:
LA Department of Water and Power 1-800-342-5397
American Red Cross 1-213-739-5200
LA Emergency Preparedness Hotline – 1-888-356-4661 or www.lacity.org/epd