Although many things are out of your control after a quake, your ability to recover financially depends on a number of factors that you can control. Prepare and follow a financial disaster recovery plan and you will be more likely to recover successfully. Consider the following: This store was temporarily closed following the 2001 magnitude 6.8 Nisqually, Washington, earthquake (photo courtesy of The Olympian, Olympia, Wash.). Will you have money, food, and medicine? • Bank operations may be disrupted, limiting access to cash, ATMs, or online banking. • Food, drug, and other retail stores where you shop may be closed or unable to restock shelves. Don’t be fooled!— Will you be able to recover financially? Myth number 3 • You are still responsible for your existing debts, such as mortgage, lease, car, and credit-card payments. • You may not have access to important financial records. • Your assets are at risk without sufficient earthquake insurance. “HOMEOWNER’S INSURANCE WILL COVER ANY DAMAGE TO MY HOME OR BELONGINGS CAUSED BY AN EARTHQUAKE.” Most residential property insurance policies do not cover damage resulting from earthquakes. A separate earthquake insurance policy is one way to protect your home and the investments you have made in personal belongings. Investigate your options carefully to ensure that your assets are sufficiently protected (see http://www.EarthquakeAuthority.com/). 16 • If you have earthquake insurance and experience loss, begin working with your insurer to file a claim as quickly as possible. Will your insurance cover your losses? • Homeowner’s and renter’s insurance policies do not cover losses related to earthquakes. • A separate earthquake insurance policy is one way to help protect your home, in addition to seismic retrofitting. • Earthquake insurance also helps with additional living expenses in the days and weeks after earthquakes. • A staggering 86% of California homeowners do not yet have earthquake insurance. This bank was damaged in the 2001 magnitude 6.8 Nisqually, Washington, earthquake, requiring customers to seek services elsewhere (photo courtesy of The Olympian, Olympia, Wash.). Big Quakes Will Affect You These small businesses in Santa Cruz, California, were heavily damaged in the 1989 magnitude 6.9 Loma Prieta earthquake, but both eventually reopened (USGS photo). Does your small business have a recovery plan? • A business disaster recovery plan will make your business better able to survive in a post-disaster environment. • Although physical assets can be replaced, emotional and social changes that affect businesses and their customers may remain long after a disaster. • Businesses may not return to their previous revenue levels after a disaster; however, some businesses such as construction are likely to be in great demand following an earthquake. What will the Government do for you? • Federal disaster relief programs are designed to help you get partly back on your feet but not to replace everything you lose. • The Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is tasked with responding to, planning for, and mitigating disasters. • After the President signs a major disaster declaration, FEMA cooperates with other agencies, such as the Small Business Administration (SBA), in providing disaster relief. • The primary form of disaster relief is low-interest loans to eligible individuals, homeowners, and businesses made available through the SBA to repair or replace damaged property and personal belongings not covered by insurance. • The maximum SBA personal-property loan is $40,000, and the maximum SBA real-property loan for primary home repair is $200,000. • FEMA disaster grants for emergency home repairs and temporary rental assistance are only available to individuals and households who do not qualify for loans. • The average FEMA grant is less than $15,000 (the maximum is $26,200)—not enough to rebuild a home in the Bay Area! • The Farm Service Agency (FSA) offers loans to assist agricultural businesses. This home in the Santa Cruz Mountains, California, collapsed in the 1989 magnitude 6.9 Loma Prieta earthquake (USGS photo). Useful Web sites Financial preparation information: http://www.redcross.org/services/disaster/ 0,1082,0_605_,00.html http://quake.abag.ca.gov/business/ Operation Hope Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK): http://www.operationhope.org/ (Note: Both English and Spanish versions of the EFFAK are available at this site.) Disaster aid information: http://www.fema.gov/about/process/ 17 What Should I Do? The Seven Steps to Earthquake Safety… E arthquakes in the Bay Area are inevitable, but damage from them is not! Steps you can take before, during, and after earthquakes will help make you and your family safer and reduce your injuries, damage, and losses: • First and foremost, plan for the personal safety of you and your loved ones. • Look into the safety of your home, workplace, and child’s school—don’t be afraid to ask your landlord, boss, or school’s principal if they are aware of the hazards and have taken measures to make these places safer and more earthquake resistant. • Find out if your home, workplace, and child’s school could be subjected to seismic hazards, such as landsliding or liquefaction, in addition to strong shaking. • Don’t forget to think about likely economic impacts to you and your family from a major quake (see pages 16, 17, and 29). The seven steps described in this section will help you to be safer in earthquakes. They are arranged as measures you should take before, during, and after quakes. In addition to following the steps at home, they should also be followed at schools and workplaces. If everyone makes an effort to follow these steps, billions of dollars could be saved, injuries avoided, and many deaths averted in the next big earthquake! You’ve learned your earthquake hazards, now follow these seven steps. . . BEFORE A QUAKE: STEP 1. STEP 2. STEP 3. STEP 4. Identify potential hazards in your home and begin to fix them (page 20). Create a disaster-preparedness plan (page 22). Prepare disaster kits (page 23). Identify your building’s potential weaknesses and begin to fix them (page 24). DURING A QUAKE: STEP 5. Protect yourself during earthquake shaking—DROP, COVER, AND HOLD ON (page 26). AFTER A QUAKE: STEP 6. STEP 7. 18 After the quake, check for injuries and damage (page 27). When safe, continue to follow your disaster-preparedness plan (page 28). Follow the Seven Steps to Earthquake Safety When safe, continue to follow your disaster-preparedness plan. After the quake, check for injuries and damage. Protect yourself during earthquake shaking—DROP, COVER, AND HOLD ON. Identify your building’s potential weaknesses and begin to fix them. Prepare disaster kits. Create a disasterpreparedness plan. Identify potential hazards in your home and begin to fix them. 19 What Should I Do? STEP 1—Identify Potential Hazards in Your Home and Begin to Fix Them T he first step to earthquake safety is to look around your home and identify all unsecured objects that might fall during shaking. START NOW by moving heavy furniture, such as bookcases, away from beds, couches, and other places where people sit or sleep! Also make sure that exit paths are clear of clutter. Simple and inexpensive things that you can do now will help reduce injuries and protect belongings in a quake. Most hardware and home-improvement stores carry earthquake-safety straps, fasteners, and adhesives that you can easily use to secure your belongings. The following tips describe simple solutions to situations in your home that could be dangerous during earthquake shaking. If these have not yet been done in your home, take action now: Don’t be fooled!— Myth number 4 Hanging objects Art and other heavy objects hung on walls may fall, and glass in pictures and mirrors may shatter. ψ Place only soft art, such as unframed posters or rugs and tapestries, above beds or sofas. ψ Hang mirrors, pictures, and other hanging objects on closed hooks. Objects on open shelves and tabletops Collectibles and other loose objects can become dangerous projectiles. ψ Hold collectibles, pottery, and lamps in place by using removable earthquake putty, museum wax, or quake gel. ψ Store heavy items and breakables on lower shelves. “QUAKE INJURIES ARE ALL FROM COLLAPSING BUILDINGS.” Many people think that all injuries in earthquakes are caused by collapsing buildings. Actually, most injuries in quakes are from objects that break or fall on people. For example, in the 1994 magnitude 6.7 Northridge earthquake, 55% of quake-related injuries were caused by falling objects, such as televisions, pictures and mirrors, and heavy light fixtures. 20 Furniture Tall, top-heavy furniture, such as bookcases and entertainment centers, may fall and injure you. ψ Secure both top corners of tall furniture into a wall stud, not just to the drywall. ψ Flexible-mount fasteners, such as nylon straps, allow furniture independent movement from the wall, reducing strain on studs. Follow the Seven Steps to Earthquake Safety ψ Check the boxes! Water and gas pipes In the kitchen Water or gas pipes anywhere in your home can break. Water leaks can cause extensive damage, and gas leaks are a major fire hazard. Glassware and china may crash to the floor if cabinet doors are unsecured. Gas appliances can shift, rupturing their gas connections. ψ Have a plumber evaluate, replace, and properly secure rusted or worn water and gas pipes. ψ If not already done, have a plumber replace rigid gas connections to water heaters, stoves, dryers, and other gas appliances with flexible (corrugated) stainless-steel gas connectors (see below). ψ Excess-flow gas-shutoff valves for individual appliances, which stop gas flow in case of a catastrophic leak, are also now available for use with flexible connectors. ψ Secure all cabinets doors, especially those overhead, to help prevent contents from falling out during quakes. Use latches designed for child proofing or earthquake or boat safety. ψ Secure refrigerators and other major appliances to walls using earthquake appliance straps. Water heaters In the garage or utility room Unsecured water heaters may fall over, rupturing rigid water and gas connections. Items stored in garages and utility rooms can fall, causing injuries, damage, and hazardous spills or leaks. ψ Water heaters are required to be anchored to wall studs or masonry with metal straps and lag screws. Kits are available at hardware stores and home centers. Flexible water connectors ψ If not already done, have a plumber install flexible (corrugated) copper water connectors. Flexible gas connector For more information on making your home safer in earthquakes go to: http://quake.abag.ca.gov/fixit/ http://quakeinfo.org/ ψ Move flammable or hazardous materials to low areas that are secure. ψ Ensure that items stored above or beside vehicles cannot fall, damaging or blocking them. Home electronics Large electronic devices may fall, causing injuries and damage. They are also costly to replace. ψ Secure TVs, stereos, computers, and microwave ovens with flexible nylon straps and buckles for easy removal and relocation. Move on to STEP 2. 21 Ϡ What Should I Do? ψ Check the boxes! STEP 2—Create a Disaster-Preparedness Plan W ill everyone in your household know how to react during and after strong earthquake shaking? To be ready for the quakes that are certain to happen in the Bay Area, it is important that your family have a disaster-preparedness plan. Hold occasional earthquake “drills” to practice your plan. Share your disaster plan with your neighbors and discuss key points with babysitters, house sitters, and house guests. Your plan should include most of the following: Plan NOW to be safe during an earthquake: In a strong earthquake, individual survival skills will be crucial. φ Practice “drop, cover, and hold on.” (See STEP 5, page 26) φ Identify safe spots in every room, such as under sturdy desks and tables. φ Learn how to protect yourself no matter where you are when an earthquake strikes. (See STEP 5, page 26) Plan NOW to respond after an earthquake: Plan NOW to communicate and recover after an earthquake: Don’t wait until the next earthquake to do the following. φ Locate a safe place outside of your home for your family to meet after the shaking stops. φ Establish an out-of-area contact person who can be called by everyone in the household to relay information. φ Provide all family members with a list of important contact phone numbers. φ Determine where you might live if your home cannot be occupied after an earthquake or other disaster (ask friends or relatives). φ Learn about the earthquake plan developed by your children’s school or day care, and keep your children’s school emergency release cards current. φ Keep copies of insurance policies, financial records, and other essential documents in a secure location, such as with your household disaster kit. Include a household inventory (a list and photos or video of your belongings). Move on to STEP 3. Doing the following will enable you to help your family and others after a strong quake. φ Keep shoes and a working flashlight next to each bed. φ Teach everyone in your household to use emergency whistles and (or) to knock 3 times repeatedly if trapped. Rescuers searching collapsed buildings will be listening for sounds. φ Identify the needs of household members and neighbors with special requirements or situations, such as use of a wheelchair, walking aids, special diets, or medication. φ Take a Red Cross first aid and CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) training course. Learn who in your neighborhood is trained in first aid and CPR. φ Know the locations of utility shutoffs and keep needed tools nearby. Know how to turn off the gas, water, and electricity to your home. Only turn off the gas if you smell or hear leaking gas. (See STEP 6, page 27) φ Get training from your local fire department in how to properly use a fire extinguisher. φ Install smoke alarms and test them monthly. Change the battery once a year, or sooner if the alarm emits a “chirping” sound (low-battery signal). φ Check with your fire department to see if there is a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) in your area. If not, ask how to start one. 22 Your family may be sleeping when the next strong quake hits the Bay Area. After the shaking stops, the lights may be out and broken glass and other dangerous debris may litter the floor, making it unsafe to walk barefoot. Keep a flashlight and a pair of sturdy shoes secured to or within reach of everyone’s bed. A good way to do this is to use a drawstring bag tied to a bedpost at the head of the bed for each occupant. Ϡ Follow the Seven Steps to Earthquake Safety STEP 3—Prepare Disaster Kits ψ Check the boxes! Personal Disaster Kits Household Disaster Kit Everyone in your family should have their own personal disaster kits. These kits are collections of supplies they may need when a quake strikes, no matter where they are in the Bay Area. Electrical, water, transportation, and other vital systems can be disrupted for several days after a large earthquake. Emergency response agencies and hospitals will likely be overwhelmed and un

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