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  • Italy Earthquake Devastates Entire Towns

    Italy Earthquake - via The Mirror Searching for survivors - via The Mirror

    A magnitude 6.2 earthquake – along with a string of more than 80 aftershocks – hit central Italy early Wednesday morning. At least 120 people are dead, and entire towns are in crumbles. One such town is Amatrice, to which the mayor explained, devastated, “Half the town doesn’t exist anymore.” At least two other towns have been reduced to rubble, and the death toll is expected to rise as rescue teams arrive at more remote areas.

    The earthquake rattled central Italy during the early morning hours when most people were still asleep. Homes fell and roads buckled. The shake was so powerful it was felt more than 135 miles away. Italy is situated on two fault lines, making it not only the most earthquake-prone country in Europe, but also in the entire world.

    With homes destroyed, people are now essentially homeless. The same thing happened in Nepal in 2015, although on a much larger scale. Because homes were destroyed and residents were fearful to spend the night in a damaged home, Kathmandu and the surrounding area became a city of tents.

    City of Tents - Italy earthquake Kathmandu's tent city

    Having some sort of emergency shelter is always a good idea. A tent will keep you protected from outside elements, but even a tarp draped over tree branches is better than nothing. Sometimes you may need to rely on these alternate shelters rather than a compromised home.

    Earthquakes can strike anywhere and at any time. In the case of the Italy earthquake, it struck around 3:30 in the morning. Lights will be out and power will be sketchy, at best. Having an earthquake kit – stored in a safe container, such as a bucket – will help you through those literal dark times with your prepared flashlights and other gear and supplies.

    While the Italy earthquake is devastating, it is still a good time to reflect on your emergency preparations and continue to build it up with the gear and supplies you need. Being prepared before the disaster is essential for riding it out as safely and comfortably as possible.

     

    Earthquake_Blog_Banner Italy earthquake

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  • China Floods Displace Millions

    China Floods - Via BBC China floods - via BBC

    China knows very well about extreme weather. Monsoons, typhoons, earthquakes, floods, drought…you name it. Even though extreme weather and natural disasters are something they are used to, every new disaster still comes as a shock.

    On July 20, 2016, China’s Hebei and Henan provinces were pounded by a monsoon which caused the Qili River to flood. There was no advanced warning, and not enough time to act. The floods killed over 150 people and displaced millions.

    But this isn’t the first time such chilling devastation has affected China due to flood. In fact, since the beginning of this year at least 1,074 people have lost their lives in China due to floods, winds, hail, and many geological happenings.

    China knows all about natural disasters. Throughout the years, they have seen countless floods, earthquakes, and other disasters. But if there’s one thing we learned from this most recent flood, it’s that early warning is key.

    Public officials failed to give enough warning to the people, which, had it been otherwise, could have saved lives. While it is a tragic event – one the locals had a hard time predicting – we can learn from it. When it comes to emergency preparedness, being informed and staying aware of what’s going on around you can save your life.

    Man Clearing Leaves From Guttering Of House China floods

    For example, learn whether you live in an area susceptible to flooding. Before the rain even comes, find ways to keep your home protected. Make sure gutters and storm drains are not blocked. Invest in sand bags if you know flooding has been an issue in the past, or think it could be in the future.

    Get flood insurance. Flood insurance doesn’t become active until 30 days after you buy it, so if you see rain on the forecast, chances are it’s already too late. Don’t wait until the last minute if you know you’re in a flood-prone area. Act now.

    Just like the folks in China, we can’t always rely on others to inform us of impending dangers. Sure, we’ve had reliable warnings and watches for quite some time so tuning in to your local weather alert station is always a great idea. But you know your area better than anyone, and that means you know the dangers that come with it, so even if the weather station reports “no flood watch,” you know your area might be an exception, so plan accordingly.

     

    Disaster_Blog_Banner - china floods

  • 3 Ways to Increase Your Odds of Surviving an Earthquake

    Christchurch, New Zealand - March 12, 2011: surviving an earthquake

    Earthquakes—as well as other natural disasters—scare us because of their randomness. We never know when something might happen. And once a disaster strikes, along comes death and destruction.

    Despite the fear that comes with natural disasters, you shouldn’t necessarily spend your time worrying about when the next earthquake might come about and end your life. In fact, you have a greater chance of dying by comet impact (1 in 20,000) or even from an accident at home (1 in 26,000). According to Dartmouth, the odds of dying in an earthquake in California (where those things are quite common) is 1 in 2,000,000.

    If you’ve ever entered a giveaway with 2 million entries, you quickly realize your chances of winning are not good. Likewise, your chances of surviving an earthquake are extremely high with those odds. That doesn’t mean, however, that you shouldn’t still be prepared. A little forethought can be the reason you make it through.

    Although there is a randomness factor as to when an earthquake will strike, you can still stack the deck in your favor. When the random event happens is moot; what matters is what you do to prepare for it. By minimizing the randomness, you’re more in control, and better able to protect yourself and your family.

    Here are five things to do to beat Mother Nature at her own game.

     

    Prepare Your Home

    surviving an earthquake by mounting a TV

    If you were to shake your entire house, what would fall down? Pictures on walls, bookshelves, and televisions are the first things that come to mind. Essentially, tall, heavy, and expensive objects should be secured, be it through putty (i.e. for vases or stand-up decorations) or wall mounts (i.e. for bookshelves or televisions).

    Move potential hazards away from your bed. This means if you sleep underneath a shelf, don’t load it with heavy objects that could fall on you should an earthquake happen during the night. You can also secure your cupboards with safety latches (just like the ones you use to keep your toddlers out of the cutlery drawer), thus keeping the plates, cups, and other things housed up there from falling and injuring anyone underneath.

     

     

    Drop, Cover, and Hold On!

    Drop Cover HOLD ON, NELLY! Image courtesy of Shakeout.org

    Don’t try and run. Chances are you’ll just be knocked off your feet by the shaking anyway. Instead, drop to the ground, take cover under something sturdy (like a desk or a table), and hold on until the shaking stops. If there is no convenient sturdy object to hide under, taking cover in an inside corner of a building is the next safest place to be. Drop down and cover your neck and head with your hands and arms.

    If you’re inside, stay there! Don’t run out. In a story in the LA Times, two women fleeing a building during the 2003 Paso Robles earthquake were killed when bricks fell down on them. Had they stayed inside, they would have been just fine.

    If you’re in your bed, do not get out. Stay there, hold on, and cover your head with your pillow. Getting out of bed could put you at risk of both falling objects as well as broken glass and other debris on the floor.

     

    Have Emergency Kits

    Following a disaster, what might life be like without an emergency kit? Without one, you could be out of food, water, or supplies to help keep you warm at night with no power. First aid supplies are very useful, especially to patch up cuts, wounds, and other injuries sustained during the disaster. Once the earthquake stops, medical personnel will be focusing their time on the most critically injured, so if you’re not on that list, you’ll be fending for yourself for possibly days.

    Make sure you have an emergency kit that fits your needs. You can get a pre-assembled emergency kit, or make your own from items you get yourself. The pre-assembled kits should have water pouches (or other form of portable water), as well as food and gear to at least cover the basics.

     

    While the odds of surviving an earthquake is high, you can increase your chances even more by being prepared well in advance. Take time today to evaluate your emergency preparedness plan and supplies and make any changes and acquisitions you need to be ready for anything.

    May the odds be ever in your favor.

     

    Earthquake Banner - Call to Action

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