Jamaica Earthquake Preparedness Tips
January 12, 2014 marked the 4th anniversary of the massive 7.0 magnitude earthquake that devastated Haiti - our sister Caribbean island.
It reportedly killed an estimated 220,000 people and injured more than 300,000.
The figures show that 3,500,000 were affected by the disaster - described as the worst natural disaster in the history of the western hemisphere.
This week also happens to be designated Earthquake Awareness Week by the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) here in Jamaica.
Earthquakes have the potential to be extremely destructive and truth be told, fatal so we need to be aware and prepare - just in case.
This certainly is not intended to scare anyone, it is simply for us to be aware and prepare for another of nature's occcurences, thus minimizing or eliminating any loss of property and life - if we have a hit.
The following are tangible actions you can take to protect yourself, your family and your property in the event of an earthquake:
- To begin preparing, you should build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan. Make sure you know how you will find each other after a major earthquake!
- Fasten shelves securely to walls.
- Place large or heavy objects on lower shelves.
- Store breakable items such as bottled foods, glass, and china in low, closed cabinets with latches.
- Fasten heavy items such as pictures and mirrors securely to walls and away from beds, couches and anywhere people sit.
- Brace overhead light fixtures and top heavy objects.
- Repair defective electrical wiring and leaky gas connections. These are potential fire risks. Get appropriate professional help. Do not work with gas or electrical lines yourself.
- Install flexible pipe fittings to avoid gas or water leaks. Flexible fittings are more resistant to breakage.
- Secure your water heater, refrigerator and gas appliances by strapping them to the wall studs and bolting to the floor. If recommended by your gas company, have an automatic gas shut-off valve installed that is triggered by strong vibrations.
- Repair any deep cracks in ceilings or foundations. Get expert advice if there are signs of structural defects.
- Be sure the residence is firmly anchored to its foundation.
- Store weed killers, pesticides, and flammable products securely in closed cabinets with latches and on bottom shelves.
- Locate safe spots in each room under a sturdy table or against an inside wall. Reinforce this information by moving to these places during each family practice drill.
- Always have an extra month’s supply of medication for any family member who has a health condition
- Ensure (as much as you are able) that day care facilities, schools and nursing homes are all structurally sound and that staff have been sensitized as to how to respond in an earthquake. Drills are important!
- Practice earthquake drills with your family members: Drop, cover and hold on.
Remember, this is not intended to scare you - natural disasters are just a fact of life, so we are just arming you.
AND Please be sure to share this with someone as well - you never will never know the live you might saved.
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