Rocked by an Earthquake – Were We Ready?

A few nights ago Jonathan and I were in bed when we heard a weird noise and shaking. We both questioned each other about the noise and movement. He quickly responded that it was an earthquake. Having grown up in California and living through a couple of big earthquakes, I assured him that he was mistaken. Earthquakes feel more like a rolling movement than what we felt. After checking on the children, we went to sleep.

Sure enough when I checked my email in the morning, Jonathan was right. There was a small 3.2 earthquake with an epicenter 15 miles from our home. So much for my extensive knowledge about earthquakes. You can get information about earthquakes in your area, or anywhere you want, by signing up at USGS.

Our family breakfast conversation centered around the event. The children had all slept right through the small earthquake, but what if it had been a large, destructive earthquake. Were we really ready? We started going through a mental checklist with the family. Tall furniture and wall hangings were secured. Emergency plan practiced and survival kits were ready to go. But we soon realized that we had areas where we needed to improve.

Since moving into our new home we had not had a hands-on lesson on how to turn off the power or natural gas in an emergency. After breakfast, we marched our little preppers outside and immediately taught them the finer art of turning off the natural gas and electricity. You can view our little lesson on YouTube.

We also realized that when we moved we had left the tool to turn off the natural gas attached to the meter at the old house.  We had purchased the emergency gas and water shut off tool but had never actually attached it to the meter. That tool is now securely attached and ready for an emergency.

Carefully evaluate your personal situation. Is your gas meter where someone could use the tool to make mischief? If so, you may want to consider keeping it close but out of sight. Perhaps in a large Ziploc bag buried under the bark near the meter. Be creative.

If this had been a serious earthquake and our gas line had ruptured, we would have wasted valuable time trying to find a tool to turn it off. Does every member of your family clearly understand how and when to turn off the utilities in an emergency? Now is a really good time for a quick review.

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