The Great Shakeout 2018 happens today, October 18. Over 22 million people are participating in drills around the world today to prepare for massive earthquakes. The basic principle of the Great Shakeout is to drop, cover, and hold, and that’s an important muscle memory to develop. But this is, perhaps more importantly, also an opportunity to Get Conscious.
What does that mean? Getting Conscious in the context of emergency preparedness means looking critically at (1) yourself, (2) your family, (3) your home, and (4) your neighborhood with an eye toward preparedness.
At this very moment when you’re reading this post, pause. Look around you. Where would you take cover if an earthquake hit at this second? Are your shoes on? Are they within reach? Where is the nearest window, the one that will shatter and send glass shards flying at high velocity?
Where are your family members right now? Do you have an emergency plan for when a massive earthquake happens? Do their schools and businesses have plans? Will you try to meet somewhere or just reconvene at home, whenever that’s possible? Do your family members have some emergency supplies that they carry with them, in the car or in their backpacks? If an earthquake happened right now and your family was at home, maybe sleeping, would they know to drop, cover, and hold? Do they have shoes and flashlights near their beds? Do you have enough food and water in your home (including for pets) to last two weeks? You might be tempted to plan carefully, taking weeks or months to set up supplies. But it’s far easier to go online or make a Costco run and stock up all at once. Make sure there’s one gallon of water per person/animal per day and plenty of unexpired food that people will want to eat. Do you have enough of your prescription medications?
In a massive earthquake, things are going to fly. Books will tumble off shelves, dishes will hurtle to the ground, framed pictures will crash and shatter, your large-screen TV will crash and break. Have you secured any of the biggest or most dangerous or most valuable items with straps? Quakehold offers some earthquake-specific tools, but you can also get creative on your own, using hair ties around kitchen cabinet knobs or child safety locks. You can fasten yourfurniture to the wall with leather belts or dense-weave straps.
Once you’ve established that your family is safe, you’re going to want to check on your neighbors. Does your neighborhood have an emergency plan? Is there a meetup place where you can report that your family is ok? Do you know what supplies you and your neighbors have on hand to dig yourselves out of this crisis and survive? The Map Your Neighborhood Program is an excellent tool to implement with your neighbors.
It doesn’t take long to Get Conscious, and it’s not difficult. Expect the best but prepare for the worst so you can put the potential future earthquake and today’s Great Shakeout 2018 out of your mind and sleep well at night.