Shakin’: Earthquake Preparedness and What to Do in the Aftermath

What do you do when the floor starts shaking? The correct answer—at least one of them—is “panic.” And that can’t be helped. Any normal person will be at least a little worried if an earthquake kicks in with no warning. –Hopefully, when you regain your composure, you’ll recall those safety precautions that are hopefully already in place.

 As is taught in primary school, most Americans know that earthquakes occur in areas where there are fault lines beneath the earth’s surface—breaks in tectonic plates causing movement with the plates sliding up against each other, releasing pent up energy, and creating a quake in the process. Earthquakes can also be caused by volcanic eruptions, mine collapses, and other large-scale forces, but most naturally occurring quakes happen because of sliding plates.

In that vein, scientists have conducted research to find the most powerful fault lines so they can determine when and where quakes will strike and provide adequate warning. The reason California is known for its earthquakes? Its proximity to America’s most famous line: the San Andreas Fault. An article that appeared in industry publication Insurance Journal recently entertained the idea that this fault may not be as stable as we’d previously hoped.

“That’s what happened during the 2011 magnitude-9 quake in Japan that triggered a tsunami and during the 1999 magnitude-7.6 Chi-Chi quake in Taiwan,” the article noted. “This may have important implications for California’s San Andreas Fault, which has a creeping section that separates the locked segments in Northern and Southern California.”

Based on these discoveries, it’s safe to say that all Americans should be prepared for earthquakes? I’m not clear on the connection beyond CA – we should mention other areas of the US where there are faults. I know the earthquakes in DC and Boston were blamed on it Of course, it’s not necessary for each of us to spend our days under sturdy tables waiting for the earth to start moving. But it is important to be ready – because when the ground starts shaking while you’re fast asleep, it’s no time to review that list of preparations you meant to create.

Homes should be examined to ensure foundations and ceilings are solid; shelves should be secured to walls and breakable objects (think glasses and dishes) should be stored in cabinets with latches. Additionally, every family should have an earthquake drill routine to follow in the event of an actual quake. Sitting under that sturdy table, or against a strong internal wall, are the best places to take cover and hold on.

Regardless of how much you prepare for a quake, nature will always throw you a curveball. If a home has suffered damage during an earthquake, one of the best things an Insurance Provider can do for their policyholder is to call Enservio. Our SOS: Service on Site Specialists can get to the damaged home within hours of the quake and will inventory every last item—making sure that every loss is accounted for, and that the homeowner is in good hands with a trained technician to take photos, acquire purchase receipts, and create a complete inventory of the home.

Moral of the story? Preparedness is crucial, but when things hit the fan – literally, (or the fan hits the floor) it’s SOS to the rescue.

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