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  • 5 Ways the Chile Earthquake Affects You

    Epicenter - Telegraph - Chile Earthquake via The Telegraph

    Yesterday afternoon, Chile was struck by an 8.3 magnitude earthquake causing tsunami watches from California to Hawaii, Samoa, and New Zealand. A 15-foot tsunami was generated along the coast of Chile near where the earthquake went off, forcing over a million people to leave their homes and head for higher ground.

    The powerful Chile earthquake slammed the country, toppling buildings and knocking out power. Near the epicenter was widespread power outages, and cellular networks essentially collapsed in some areas. Running water is still off in some places. The entire city of Illapel, Chile was dark Thursday night, and, with their homes destroyed, thousands of citizens were forced to sleep outside.

    Earthquakes are a devastating disaster that are hard – if not downright impossible – to predict. When an earthquake strikes, the time for preparing is over. While this recent Chile earthquake is a real, heartbreaking disaster to those effected, we can still learn how to prepare from their experiences.


    Power and Light

    Chile Earthquake CNBC via CNBC

    The Chile earthquake knocked out power in widespread regions following this earthquake. That means if those people don’t have another source of light and electricity, they may be left in the dark for quite some time. It was already late in the evening in Chile when the earthquake struck, and the sun had probably finished setting. An earthquake is dangerous enough in the daytime. When it’s dark and the power goes out, things can get even worse.

    In preparing for an earthquake, make sure you have extra light sources handy. Flashlights, head lamps, and other emergency lights are a must-have when it comes to earthquake preparedness. Tripping over rubble and debris in the dark can cause hurt and injury. If the earthquake doesn’t hurt you, other things very well could.



    Cell phone service became absolutely useless following the Chile earthquake. Networks were down, so there was no way to contact family, friends, or even emergency services. Without cell service, I’m sure many people were unable to receive the information they needed.

    Emergency communications, such as radios, can provide essential information when other forms of communication drops. Having an emergency communications plan can also help you find your loved ones following a disaster. If everybody knows where your family’s emergency meeting place is, then you will all be able to meet up afterwards. Plan ahead, because you won’t always have cell service when you need it.



    According to Reuters, running water was also hard to come by. Make sure you have a way to get water in an emergency. This could be from a water barrel, emergency water in cans, or by water filter. There are other options available, so do your research and know which method works best for you in your situation.



    Chile Earthquake Shelter via Reuters via Reuters

    Thousands of people were forced to sleep outside after their homes were destroyed or badly damaged. Sleeping outside without shelter can put you at the mercy of the elements, and we've seen this before in Nepal and the city of tents that sprung up after their massive earthquake. If you’re forced out of your home due to natural (or other) disaster, the last thing you want is for more natural elements to give you a hard time. Tents, both large and small, can be a great asset to your emergency preparations. If nothing else, emergency ponchos can at least keep you warmer than your shorts and t-shirt. Again, research your options, and choose what’s best for your situation.



    Crowd and Fire - Telegraph - Chile Earthquake via The Telegraph

    With the power out, you may be in for a cold night. In some raw video of the aftermath of this earthquake, people are shown around a large fire in the middle of the street. While it’s great that they were able to start a fire to stay warm, that might not always be possible. Earthquakes may also hit during the winter, and a fire might not be good enough (although it would most certainly be better than nothing).

    From big heaters to emergency blankets and other sources of heat, you should have at least something on hand to keep you and your family warm should the power go out.


    In just a few moments, the people of Chile went from comfortable to out on the streets. Things can change in the blink of an eye, but if you’re prepared with the gear and prep you need, emergencies such as this Chile earthquake won’t be so bad. They will probably still be unpleasant, but at least you can be comfortable, safe, warm, and taken care of.


    What is your must-have piece of emergency prep for an earthquake?


    Chile Earthquake Banner

  • Procrastination: A Recipe For Disaster(s)

    Why aren’t you prepared for a major emergency?

    According to a recent survey of 3,000 people, the majority claim they just keep putting off getting prepared. These people have even taken First Aid courses, so we know they’re interested and even want to be ready. Procrastination is keeping us from being prepared.

    Procrastination and emergency shelter does not mix.We all know disasters like to make an appearance when it’s least convenient for us, and when we least expect it. The recent 7.8 magnitude Nepal earthquake should be a smack back to reality. One moment life is good, the next…, well, it’s quite literally in shambles. This earthquake is just one reason we should not just be thinking about preparing, but actually doing it. And if you don’t think such a disaster can happen to you, just remember the earthquake that struck Michigan earlier this month. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder said that "It's rare for Michigan to experience earthquakes, but as we were reminded today, it does happen.”

    And if it does happen, why do we still procrastinate?

    Mike Lloyd of News 1130 thinks that starting to prepare can be a little overwhelming, and he may be right. That’s why St. John Ambulance is providing people with 15 Easy Steps to Emergency Preparedness. St. John Ambulance is trying to remind people about the basics and also other things that people tend to forget about.


    1. Make An Emergency Plan

    It all starts here, folks. As Ben Franklin once said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” Does anybody ever really want to fail? And yet we plan on it – all the time – when we don’t plan ahead for disaster. Make a plan. To get you started, here are some things you should think about when planning:

    • Exits and evacuation routes
    • Family meeting place
    • Emergency contact
    • Plan for pets
    • Important documents (Social Security cards, birth certificates, insurance, photos of family members and pets, passports, health information, prescriptions, etc.).


    1. Emergency Kit

    This is pretty much the go-to for every disaster. Make sure you have a kit, because when disaster strikes, hospitals could very likely only be taking in those that are most seriously injured. Your emergency kit should help you survive the next three days after the disaster. But you might not even be home when the disaster hits, to the people at St. John Ambulance suggest to plan ahead for that, too.


    “You may be in a vehicle, so you need a kit for on the road or at work. You may have high-heeled shoes on at work – how are you going to walk? You may not get home for many days.”


    If you’re unsure where to start in building your emergency kit, ready.gov has some good resources to look through. Or, if you’d prefer getting a kit already packed and prepared by experts, check out our wide-range of emergency kits.


    1. Emergency Food and Water Storage

    We are all encouraged to be able to sustain ourselves for at least three days following a disaster. Having an emergency kit will definitely help with that, but without food and water (especially water), it’s going to be most unpleasant.

    Water storage doesn’t have to be difficult. Start by filling up 2-litre bottles from your kitchen sink and storing them out of direct sunlight. Each person should have about a gallon of water per day, so if you’re planning on using 2-litre bottles, that’s going to be about 6 bottles per person per day. If you have more room, consider investing in some water jugs, or even water barrels. These will help provide you with more water, so if you do need more than just three-days’ worth of water, you’ll be prepared. At the very least, make sure you have enough water for 72-hours. Every six to 12 months, you should get out your water storage and switch out the water so it always tastes fresh.

    Food is also fairly simple to store these days. Freeze-dried food can last up to 25 years, so if you get a can or two of your favorite meal to keep on hand, you’ll have a three-day supply of food without any hassle on your end. Best of all, freeze-dried meals are delicious and easy to prepare – just add hot water, wait about 10 minutes, and you’ve got yourself a full-on meal!


    Procrastination is unpreparedness.So you see, preparing for disaster doesn’t have to be hard. You can even start today by filling water containers and stashing them in your storage room. That will take about five minutes.

    Now’s the time to start preparing. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Even if nothing happens, there is peace of mind that comes in knowing that if a disaster did strike, you would be ready for it. Don't let procrastination get the best of you. Prepare today!



    What strategies have you found that help you get motivated to prepare?



    Drought Procrastination - Dont' Do It


  • 3 Simple Lists for Earthquake Preparedness

    If an earthquake rocks your city, will you have prepared yourself, your family, and your home for life after the quake? Knowing what to do before, during, and after an earthquake is essential. FEMA.gov has a prepared a comprehensive list of earthquake preparedness items from which I borrow.


    Before The Quake

    First and foremost, prepare your family. 72-hour kits are a must have for any disaster. Your 72-hour kit should supply you with enough resources so you and your family will make it through the first three days following a major earthquake. A good kit includes:

    • Emergency ChecklistWater
    • Non-perishable food (MREs are always a good 72-hour kit option)
    • First aid kit
    • Blanket (keeps out the cold, can be used as an impromptu shelter)
    • Flashlight with extra batteries
    • Books, toys, games for kids (OK, and for adults, too. Don’t forget my Star Wars toys!)
    • Complete change of clothing
    • Portable radio (runs on batteries or other alternate source of energy, such as solar or hand-crank)
    • Important documents and cash (ATMs and bank systems may be offline)
    • Special needs (diapers, medications, prescriptions, etc.)


    Of course, there are many other things you could put in your emergency 72-hour kit. For a more in-depth look at what you could put in your 72-hour kit, check out ready.gov’s list for a basic disaster supplies kit. Or, take a look at some of our pre-built emergency kits and specialized disaster kits, such as our earthquake emergency kit.

    Also before an earthquake, make sure you secure anything that could tumble to the ground. This includes TVs, microwaves, computers, and other electronics. Don’t forget to anchor your bookshelves to the walls. Other things to anchor securely are filing cabinets, china cabinets, and tall furniture. Avoid placing heavy objects about your bed or other areas in which you may be sitting. For a full list of ways to prepare before an earthquake, ready.gov has a great article you can look into.


    During the Quake

    Nessie I said "Nelly", not "Nessie"!

    As the saying goes, “Drop, cover, and hold on, Nelly!”

    This is fairly self-explanatory (except for maybe who Nelly is). Basically, you’ll want to:

    • Drop to your hands and knees.
    • Cover your head and neck with your arms. This will help protect you from falling objects.
    • Hold on to anything sturdy until the shaking stops (Let me clarify – until the earth stops shaking. You might be shaking for a while afterwards. That is called adrenaline and is normal.)
    • Stay away from windows, glass, and anything that could fall (ie. light fixtures and furniture)
    • If you are trapped under debris:
      • Do not light a match.
      • Use clothing or handkerchief to cover your mouth to avoid breathing in dust and other debris.
    • If you are in a car, stay inside until the tremors are over.


    After the Quake

    Although the earthquake has stopped, there are still dangers. Make sure you proceed with caution in the immediate aftermath of the quake.

    • After Quake SafteyCheck for injuries.
    • Wear shoes to avoid cutting your feet on broken glass or other debris.
    • Do not turn on lights or use electrical appliances inside your home until you know there is no gas leak. When using a flashlight, turn it on outside the home (flashlight battery could create a spark that could ignite gas if there is a leak).
    • Use cellular network to communicate. Texting can sometimes get through busy networks where phone calls fail.


    Of course, there are always more things to be aware of and keep in mind than what any one person can write down. By using caution you can avoid other unpleasantries and injuries, so be sure to stop and think about the safest way to approach each scenario as you come to them.

    Earthquakes can be devastating, but with the proper preparation and knowledge, you can still be safe and comfortable during the days that follow. Take the time to prepare now, so when an earthquake does happen, you will be ready and able to help yourself, your family, and your community.

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