Earthquake Preparedness and Apartments

Just a few days ago, an earthquake woke my husband and me up at five in the morning. This was a very unusual event for us because we don’t live in a state that usually experiences earthquakes. Although the tremor only lasted about a minute, I was already mentally planning how we would get our children and where in our house we would go to be the safest. After the earthquake had passed, I looked up what the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) advises to do during an earthquake. I was surprised to find that earthquakes can happen anywhere. In light of this information, here are some tips to prepare yourself in case you experience an earthquake in an apartment building.

Renter’s insurance for an earthquake may seem like a waste of money, especially if you live in an area that is not prone to earthquakes, however, if you live east of the Blue Ridge Mountains, renter’s insurance may be a good idea since earthquakes travel further and do damage to a wider area in the East. If you live elsewhere in the United States you can check FEMA’s website to find a map showing your earthquake risk by state. This can help you determine whether you consider the risk to be high enough to warrant purchasing insurance in case of an earthquake. Most regular renter’s insurance policies do not cover earthquakes, so you will either need to buy a separate policy or rider.

FEMA suggests putting together a plan for an earthquake before one ever happens since it is much more difficult to come up with a plan during an earthquake. I definitely agree with this advice since I couldn’t remember what the best thing to do in an earthquake is. “Go to the basement? No, that’s a tornado. Go outside? Crouch in a doorway?” Just so you know, the official recommendation for an earthquake is to “take cover under a sturdy desk, table, or bench or against an inside wall, and hold on. If there isn’t a table or desk near you, cover your face and head with your arms and crouch in an inside corner of the building. Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls, and anything that could fall, such as lighting fixtures or furniture.”

Another piece of information I learned was to put together a 30 day emergency supply since severe earthquakes can damage water, sewer, and power lines badly enough that they take quite some time to fix and stores may not be open due to damage. Some items you may want to include in your supplies include: “water in pouches, containers and a water filter, canned foods, pain killers, creams, first aid kit, prescription medications, vitamins and supplements, entertainment items (books, board games and coloring books and activities), lights (flashlights, lanterns, candles and oil lamps), AM/FM weather radio (hand-cranked, solar powered or battery operated).” An earthquake can be a very frightening event, especially if you have never experienced one before. Being prepared can make it a less stressful and safer for your family in your apartment.