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  • Prepare Your Home for an Earthquake with These 5 Easy Tips

    I'm not sure where you live, but being born and raised in Southern California - I know one thing; earthquakes can be really dangerous, and even more so than other natural disasters as they're highly unpredictable. Sometimes you need to prepare beyond a bug out bag, and in this article, I'm going to show you how to prepare your own home in case such a disaster does strike.


    Earthquake Rubble Prepare your home for an earthquake


    As you probably know, the weather department can predict and warn people against certain types of natural disasters such as:

    However, even with advanced technology, we don’t yet have a fool-proof system for determining the locations and magnitudes of upcoming earthquakes.

    Scientists do have a general idea on which areas are most prone to earthquakes – but unfortunately, they can't tell the exact time when the catastrophe will occur.

    So, the only way to minimize loss of life and property during a quake is to prepare beforehand.

    Here are 5 easy tips to prepare your property for seismic activity:

    1) Get your home insured against earthquakes:

    This step is especially crucial if your region is highly susceptible to quakes.

    Depending upon the magnitude, a quake can cause hundreds of thousands (even millions) of dollars’ worth of damage to a property.

    If disaster does strike (scientists suggest that someday, it sure will), your insurance can be an absolute blessing. It can help you to rebuild your home or buy a new home and continue to live life normally. Many insurance policies do not provide earthquake coverage but it may be available as an optional extra.

    If you already have a policy in place, upgrade it so that it covers earthquake damages as well. All the information mentioned in this article can't help you that much if you don't have (or don’t plan to get) earthquake insurance. Please don’t make the mistake of ignoring this step.

    Take a look at the places that have been affected by hurricane Katrina – many people have not been able to rebuild their properties due to lack of funds. Unfortunately, they are forced to live in run-down homes and temporary shelters even years after the cataclysmic event shook their world forever.


    2) Make sure that your home has a strong foundation:

    Most new homes are built upon a foundation but many older properties are held in place simply by their own weight. In order for your home to be able to withstand tremors, it must be fixed firmly to the ground – otherwise, it will wobble, crack, and crumble. Also, the walls and roof should be attached strongly to each other. Here are a couple of ways to reinforce the structural integrity of your house:

    1. Prepare your home for an earthquake and anchor bolts Anchor bolts

      Add anchor bolts between the house and its foundation. Steel plates will also do the job. This procedure is not as expensive as you think. Spend a few hundred dollars and prevent your home from crumbling, being overturned, or sliding off during a quake.

    2. Fix cracks in your walls or in the roof (if any).
    3. Brace the cripple wall of your home. A house’s cripple wall is usually its weakest part. (This is the wall between the foundation and the first floor.)
    4. Reinforce chimneys and other attached structures such as garages, joint sheds, etc.


    3) Use flexible connectors for gas and water to prevent leaks.

    Gas leaks can be several times more dangerous than the earthquake itself. Invest in an automatic shut-off device (activates upon breakage of connectors) or install a main switch to turn off gas and power supply completely. If your home has any plumbing or electrical faults, get them repaired as soon as possible.


    4) Many people ignore this completely – Understand that glass becomes your sworn enemy during natural disasters.

    Pieces of broken glass get strewn about and may cause serious wounds and bleeding. You can easily prevent this by installing a clear, shatterproof film over glass surfaces.

    This way, even if the glass does break – it will be held together by the film.

    Shatterproof films are not expensive at all – they can even be purchased online for a few dollars.

    Installation is quite easy and requires only a few common tools. Not only do the films prevent shattering, but they also keep out harmful UV rays. Sounds like the perfect weekend project, doesn’t it?


    5) Pay attention to the layout of furniture within your home:

    Heavy objects such as dressers, water heaters, etc. should not be left hanging or unsecured. Place them close to the ground and anchor them to the wall with bolts. Don’t hang paintings, glass lamps, chandeliers, and other decorative pieces directly above beds and sofas. All cupboards should have safety latches to prevent contents from spilling out. Also, don’t put pesticides, cleaning agents, and other chemicals on top of wardrobes and on high shelves. Think twice before investing in a glass-top table. You should have a sturdy piece of furniture to hide under during an earthquake – a strong wood top table or bed is ideal. A glass-top table may look nice, but in an emergency, it's pretty useless.

    If you’re buying or renting a house, make sure that it complies with the local earthquake regulations. Last but not the least, buy a battery operated radio. I know it's a bit old fashioned but it may be your only source for receiving communication during a quake as power lines and mobile networks are usually down.



    About the Author: J.D. Phillips Runs SurvivalCrackas.com and lives with his family in Southern California. You can follow him on Facebook and download his Guide How to Build the Ultimate Disaster Kit free of charge from his website, linked above!


    Earthquake_Blog_Banner Prepare your home for an earthquake

  • Is Prepping on the Decline?

    Stock Market statistics Decline

    There was a time when being prepared for emergencies was a national past time. The Great Depression all but forced people to live within (and less than) their means, and save everything they could. Following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, even more people saw the benefits of preparing and began building up supplies. Then there was the stock market crash of 2008, forcing countless Americans to live off what they had. Some had stored up enough with which to subsist until a new job or other means could be found. Many others struggled.

    Then the world was supposed to end in 2012 as predicted by the Mayans. Before the predicted date arrived, more and more people began stockpiling food, water, and gear…just in case. The world still stands, but that didn’t stop countless others from investing even more in emergency prep in the months before the 2015 blood moon tetrad.

    Preppers kept on prepping since then. That is, right up until election day. According to some sources, prepping is on a decline as people let their guard down with Donald Trump about to become president. They trust him to boost the economy, to produce jobs, and make everything awesome. Whether that will happen or not has yet to be seen (fingers crossed). But even if he does make everything awesome, that doesn’t mean we’re done prepping.

    Natural disasters don’t really care how good our economy is. Massive earthquakes, super tornadoes, category 5 hurricanes, and the biggest, baddest snowstorms can be debilitating. Even smaller disasters can leave you without power, water, and other comforts for an extended period of time.

    Family Dinner Decline

    Stocking up for the unexpected is more than just preparing for the stock market to crash (although also important). True, the Dow Jones has never been higher, and the market is looking good. So money might not be as big an issue as it has been in the past. But what about water storage, just in case your water get shut off? Broken water mains and other issues can do that without warning. Will your food storage be enough to see you through a hurricane if you can’t make it to the store? Or what about a way to warm yourself (and your family) when your power goes out during a blizzard? Or will you have sufficient food in your storage to get you by following a job loss until you can get yourself back on your feet? The list goes on.

    There are so many reasons why being prepared is a good idea. Don’t leave your safety and well-being up to fate. Just like any good ship, make sure you have a life boat. Nobody goes out expecting their ship to sink (Titanic, anyone?), but if your good fortunes do spring a leak, make your you have a lifeboat handy.


    Disaster_Blog_Banner Decline

  • How to be Prepared for Any Apartment Emergency

    The following article is a guest post from Sam Radbil.

    Sam Radbil is a contributing member of the marketing and communications team at ABODO, an online apartment marketplace. ABODO was founded in 2013 in Madison, Wisconsin. And in just three years, the company has grown to more than 30 employees, raised over $8M in outside funding and helps more than half a million renters find a new home each month.


    View of colorful apartments and condos in the city. View of colorful apartments and condos in the city.

    Hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes, and brutal winter storms are just a few of the hazards for which people all around the U.S. have to be prepared. Even smaller disruptions, such as a water main break, can be mitigated with just a few early steps. And it’s not just homeowners. As a renter, your landlord might have had the responsibility of installing emergency lights, smoke detectors, and a standby power system, but you have your share of preparedness measures to take, too. At ABODO, we want to make sure every renter is prepared.


    Household Emergency Supplies

    Citywide catastrophes aside, small-scale household emergencies need preparing, too. For example, make sure you have an easily accessible flashlight with working batteries, a few candles, matches, a fire extinguisher, a first aid kit, and a small store of potable water. The average person needs 1 gallon every three days, which is the minimum recommended to have on-hand.

    emergency-kitStore-bought and sealed water is a great, simple, and sanitary option, but you can also prepare your own by completely sanitizing water or soda bottles (not milk or fruit juice containers, because leftover sugars can lead to bacteria growth), filling with chlorine-treated water, and replacing every six months.

    These supplies will come in handy during severe weather or a kitchen mishap, but you should also have a full-scale emergency kit packed in the event of larger disasters.


    Disaster Supplies Kit

    Like insurance, it’s something you should always have but hope you never need. Since space is at a premium for many renters, you could consider storing your disaster supplies in the trunk of your car (if you have ready access), so they’re ready and waiting if you need to hit the road. If that’s not possible, keep the kit as available as possible — don’t let it end up in inconvenient, offsite storage.

    But what to pack? Ready.gov recommends some of the aforementioned items, such as a flashlight and first aid kit, as well as extra batteries, radio (and NOAA weather radio), a whistle, dust masks, plastic sheeting, duct tape, moist towlettes, garbage bags, plastic twist-ties, wrench/pliers, manual can opener, maps, cellphone with charger (solar, if possible), and a three-day supply of non-perishable food and water for every person.


    Other Helpful Tips

    There is the possibility that in the event of a serious disaster, you won’t be able to charge your cellphone, or you could lose your phone. Add a little extra protection by making a list of pertinent phone numbers (emergency services, family members, etc.) and keeping it in your disaster kit.

    • Sign up for emergency alert texts, so you can respond quickly and appropriately to changing circumstances.
    • Keep a map of your building and surrounding roadways in your disaster kit, which should be provided with your lease. Some apartment complexes can be very large and winding, and in case of an emergency, your regular route might be blocked. It’s important to know all of your exit/evacuation routes.
    • Have some cash on hand as well — ATMs and card readers won’t work with no power.



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