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

By Katherine Lam, 15, Ramona Convent
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When it comes to earthquakes, Faye Cousin, a City of Los Angeles emergency preparedness coordinator, really knows what she’s talking about. Faye went through the Northridge earthquake in 1994. She still remembers all the damage done to her house. Her refrigerator turned over and everything spilled out. Her chimney collapsed, glass vases fell off shelves and broke, and her TV fell over. She learned from her experiences and now she’s prepared for any earthquakes. Almost everything in her house is strapped to the wall. She removed her glass vases, and keeps several earthquake kits around her house, with flashlights in every room.

I asked her what to do before, during and after an earthquake.

Q: What should I do before an earthquake?

A: Prepare! Develop an earthquake plan, check around the house for earthquake hazards, and be sure to have earthquake kits around the house.

Q: What should I do after an earthquake?

A: The safest thing to do would be just to duck underneath a table [or some other heavy solid piece of furniture], but never stand underneath a doorway.

Q: What about my Nintendo?

A: Just make sure that your TV, stereo, computer or anything else heavy is not right over it [or strap those things down]. There will be fewer chances that your game system will be damaged.

Q: What if I have precious glass trophies or ceramic sculptures I want to display on my shelves?

A: If you absolutely need to display them, move them to one side of the room (not over your bed). However, it is recommended that you put them away in a drawer or closet.

Q: What will happen to my pet after an earthquake?

A: You should make a plan with relatives or neighbors. In case you have to evacuate after an earthquake, your pet will have a place to stay, since many evacuation centers do not allow pets.

Q: What if I’m at the park? Where should I go?

A: Try as much as possible to stand away from trees or power lines. Those things may easily fall down. Search for an open field if there is no other shelter nearby.

Q: What if I’m in the bathroom during an earthquake?

A: It is important to remember that an earthquake may strike anywhere you are and at any time. Be prepared and keep a flashlight under the sink.

Q: What should I do after an earthquake?

A: Try to stay inside until you know it is safe. Once outside, watch out for falling glass and debris.

Q: What is one common mistake that people make during earthquakes?

A: Panicking and not thinking is a common mistake and that is why it is suggested that you have a plan. If you have a plan and you practice it, then you will know exactly what to do when the earthquake occurs.

Q: Teens don’t have control of their households so what exactly can they do?

A: One of the main things is to be aware of the plan, know important phone numbers, and have their own earthquake kit stored in their room.