How prepared are you for an earthquake?

Earthquakes are devastating and tricky to predict natural disasters that impact hundreds of millions of people worldwide. While most earthquakes aren't anything to worry about, it is always a good idea to be prepared. This is especially true If you live in a region that is prone to severe earthquakes such as the Pacific Coast of Canada, the United States, and Mexico. Being prepared to survive in the moment and also recover from the aftermath is an important challenge that you need to plan for.

Here is a look at the things you should know so you can formulate your earthquake survival plans in advance, rather than being caught unawares.

Assess Your Home For Hazards

When an earthquake strikes, your meticulously decorated home could become a trap-filled nightmare, and not just because of the structural elements. Heavy items and furniture will pose a real threat to your safety if they are not positioned appropriately.

For example, if you have large bookshelves, make sure these are affixed to the walls. Also remember to store weighty or fragile items lower down, so that they do not have far to fall if they are shaken loose.

Know Where You Are Going To Take Shelter

Having a game plan for where to go in the event of an earthquake is also crucial. Ideally, you will be able to ride it out in the open air, but remember to avoid areas that have large buildings, trees or power lines that could fall and injure you.

If you are indoors, identify a sturdy piece of furniture, such as a dining table, to shelter beneath, or stand against a wall, away from windows.

Stock Up On Emergency Supplies

Lots of reputable companies provide emergency food supplies that are designed to stand the test of time if normal distribution networks are disrupted, and an earthquake is precisely the type of event that can make it hard to get access to perishable goods.

It is not just food and water which should be close at hand for when supply chains are severed; you will also need useful tools like a flashlight with spare batteries, a wind-up radio, a first aid kit with medicines to fight infection, and footwear that is durable enough to take plenty of punishment.

Create an Earthquake Emergency Plan For Your Family

Earthquakes rarely affect a small number of people, so it pays to make sure that your loved ones are just as well prepared as you are.

The Red Cross has more detailed advice on how you can prepare for and cope with earthquakes, so pass on the relevant information to your family members so that you are all on the same page.

Consider Communication Needs

The final piece of preparation involves planning for how you will stay in contact with the other people you care about if an earthquake occurs in your area.

It is better to designate another friend or family member who lives in another part of the country as the person who others can get in touch to stay up to date on your situation, so share their details with others and let them know their responsibilities.

Finally, be willing to contribute to local community efforts to prepare for and recover from all kinds of natural disasters; community spirit and cohesion is often what gets us through the darkest times.