<< I gave my room a 'quake-over'

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In this section, you’ll find easy things you can do to get ready and stay safe if there’s an earthquake.

Here are some steps to help make your room safer in an earthquake.

1) Throw together a small earthquake kit.
Create a small kit that suits your needs in case you need to evacuate your house after an earthquake. Add a bottle of water that will last you a couple days along with your favorite food bars. Include a small card with phone numbers of relatives and close friends as emergency contacts. Put in a flashlight, (check that you have fresh batteries), a blanket, a whistle, any special medication you may need, and some clothes. Your family should also have a big earthquake kit with all the family needs, from water to food. For a complete list of recommended items, see the list on page 18.

2) Tidy up the random stuff on your floor.
You don’t have to spend five hours reorganizing every square inch of your room, but do yourself a favor and move the stuff scattered across the floor. If you can make snow angels on your floor, you’re fine. In case of any emergency, tripping on these things won’t make the path to your door any easier. Try to clear out things whenever you have a spare minute. It only takes a minute to stack things in the corner of your room.

3) Look around your room for other safety issues.
—Strap down computers, stereos, TVs and anything heavy. (You can buy "quake grip" straps at a hardware store or building supply center.)
—Move breakable items onto the bottom shelves or store them safely in your drawers.
—Move anything that would prevent you from escaping from your room.
—Fasten mirrors to the wall or dresser.
—Replace ceramic plant pots with plastic.

The Federal Emergency

Management Agency (FEMA) recommends that your family have the following supplies:

• A portable, battery-powered radio or television and extra batteries.
• Flashlight and extra batteries.
• First aid kit and first aid manual.
• Prescription medications.
• Credit card and cash.
• Personal identification.
• An extra set of car keys.
• Matches in a waterproof container.
• Signal flare.
• Map of the area and phone numbers of places you could go.
• Special needs, for example, diapers or formula, prescription medicines and copies of prescriptions, hearing aid batteries, spare wheelchair battery, spare eyeglasses, or other physical needs.

First aid kit

Assemble a first aid kit for your home and one for each car. The basics for your first aid kit include:
• First aid manual.
• Sterile adhesive bandages in assorted sizes.
• Assorted sizes of safety pins.
• Cleansing agent/soap.
• Latex gloves (2 pairs).
• Sunscreen.
• 2-inch and 4-inch sterile gauze pads (4-6 each).
• Triangular bandages (3).
• 2-inch and 3-inch sterile roller bandages (3 rolls each).
• Scissors, tweezers and needle.
• Moistened towelettes.
• Antiseptic.
• Thermometer.
• Tongue depressor blades (2).
• Tube of petroleum jelly or other lubricant.
• Aspirin or nonaspirin pain reliever.
• Antidiarrhea medication.
• Antacid (for stomach upset).
• Syrup of ipecac (use to induce vomiting if advised by the poison control center).
• Laxative.
• Activated charcoal (use if advised by the poison control center).
• Vitamins.
• Add any necessary prescription and nonprescription drugs.

Evacuation supplies

The Federal Emergency Management Agency also suggests that you prepare a larger kit in case you need to evacuate.

In an easy-to-carry container, place the supplies you would most likely need if you were to be away from home for several days. Label the container clearly. Remember to include:
• Disaster Supplies Kit basics
(listed above).
• Three gallons of water per person.
• Three-day supply of nonperishable food.
• Kitchen accessories: manual can opener; mess kits or paper cups, plates, and plastic/disposable utensils; utility knife; a can of cooking fuel if food must be cooked; household liquid bleach to treat drinking water; sugar, salt, pepper; aluminum foil; plastic resealable bags.
• One complete change of clothing and footwear for each family member, sturdy shoes or workboots, raingear, hat and gloves, thermal underwear, sunglasses.
• Blankets or sleeping bag for each family member.
• Tools and other accessories: paper, pencil; needles and thread; pliers, shut-off wrench, shovels, and other useful tools; tape; medicine dropper; whistle; plastic sheeting; fire extinguisher; emergency preparedness manual; tube tent; compass.
• Sanitation and hygiene items: toilet paper, towelettes; soap, hand sanitizer, liquid detergent; feminine supplies; personal items such as shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes, comb and brush, lip balm; heavy-duty plastic garbage bags and ties (for personal sanitation uses); medium-sized plastic bucket with tight lid; disinfectant; household chlorine bleach; small shovel for digging a latrine.
• Entertainment, such as games and books.
• Remember to consider the needs of very young and older family members, such as infants and elderly or disabled persons. For baby: formula, diapers, bottles, powdered milk, medications. For adults: heart and high blood pressure medication, insulin, prescription drugs, denture needs, contact lenses and supplies, extra eyeglasses, and hearing aid batteries.
• Keep items in airtight plastic bags. This will help protect them from damage or spoiling.
• Replace stored food and water every six months. Replacing your food and water supplies will help ensure their freshness.
• Rethink your kit and family needs at least once a year. Replace batteries, update clothes, etc.