Tag Archives: how to prepare for an earthquake

Lessons Learned from Mexico’s Recent Earthquakes

Although I have repeatedly stated I’m not a bonafide Prepper, every now and then I go into Prepper mode.  Recent events activated that dormant Prepper switch and out pops posts like this.

In any given day there are several hundred earthquakes around the world.  Earthquakes with a magnitude of 7 or greater occur on average once a month. (How Often Do Earthquakes Occur?)

Not all earthquakes are related to plate tectonics.  Research has proven that fracking, wastewater disposal, and fluid injection can also cause earthquakes. According to the Official website of the Department of Homeland Security, all 50 U.S. state, and 5 U.S. territories are at some risk for earthquakes.  Earthquakes can happen any day of the year and can not be predicted. Thus, it’s in your best interest to learn a little bit about earthquake survival.

In September, Mexico experienced a series of devastating earthquakes.  Being close enough to know people affected made me realize that there are a few things you and I can do to be better prepared in the event of an earthquake.

Find out about the structural integrity of your home and buildings you frequent.

After the deadly earthquake in Mexico City in 1985, the city began to require that all buildings be earthquake proof, holding builders to a high quality of material and construction. (MEXICO CITY’S CODE OF BUILDING REGULATIONS) There is no doubt that these higher standards saved thousands of lives last month. (In Mexico Quake, Geography and Building Codes Played Important Roles) However, 3,000 buildings in the city collapsed or were severely damaged.  People were trapped in those buildings and not everyone was rescued.  Investigators have since discovered that corners were cut and documents falsified for some of these buildings.  The substandard material that was used in many of those newer buildings was not able to withstand the earthquake and aftershocks. (His Mexico City Apartment Block Was Built Only Months Ago. So Why Did It Collapse So Easily?, Mexico City Probes Corruption Allegations Arising From Earthquake Building Damage, Collapsed School in Mexico Earthquake Is Checked for ‘Hidden Defects’)

Therefore, it’s in your best interest to have your own home assessed by a professional. It wouldn’t exactly be a good thing for all your carefully amassed survival supplies to be buried beneath a ton of rubble after an earthquake. (Earthquake Publications: Building Codes and Seismic Rehabilitation).  It’s also a good idea to check Public Records and find out some basic building information about your office building, workplace, your children’s schools, and even your grocery store.

Learn what to do in the event of an earthquake.

Since the 1985 earthquake, Mexico City requires a city-wide earthquake drill every year on September 19, the anniversary of the 1985 quake and ironically the same day as the latest earthquake. (Hours after an earthquake drill in Mexico City, the real thing struck) During this drill, alarms sound over loudspeakers, alerts are broadcasted over the radio and TV stations, and messages are even sent to cellphones. The residents of Mexico City are encouraged to leave stores, workplaces and schools and head to designated safe areas. 

I’ve seen a lot of conflicting advice about what the best thing to do during an earthquake. The Official website of the Department of Homeland Security suggests getting under a desk or table and remaining in the building. The Mexico City drills reinforce getting out of the building as quickly as possible while the Victoria State Emergency Service tells you to stay inside until the shaking stops. Undoubtedly the best thing to do is be in an area that does not have buildings, bridges, light posts, electric wires, or trees that may fall on you. Barring that, may I suggest hightailing it to an area without buildings, bridges, light posts, electric wires or trees as soon as possible?

Learn basic first aid.

In Mexico, governmental organizations were slow or ineffectual in dealing with the thousands of people injured or trapped after the earthquake.  (Mexico earthquake: Victims complain of slow response, Aftershock: Mexicans frustrated by slow government response to earthquake disaster) The same can be true in the area in which you live. It may take some time for official organizations to gather information and arrive on scene after an earthquake.

Thus, it’s a mighty fine idea for you to learn basic first aid in the likelihood that you, your family or the people near you are injured during an earthquake. In the chaos after an earthquake, you might be the only person in a position to provide care to injured individuals or yourself. The Red Cross offers a variety of first aid courses. Take one. Remember, the life that you save may be your own.

Do what you can to help as soon as you can.

The first 48 hours after an earthquake is crucial for search and rescue efforts. Having experienced a major earthquake in living memory, Mexican City residents wasted no time in creating bucket brigades to remove debris and search for survivors. (Civilian volunteers rise to the challenge of deadly Mexico earthquake, Army Of Volunteers Helps In Mexico Search And Rescue, Mexico City Volunteers Venture Out in Force to Aid Quake Victims) Ordinary citizens brought water and food to those continuing the search and recovery efforts and opened their homes to the displaced victims. Nearly all of the rescue workers that dug through the rubble at a collapsed factory and saved 14 lives were volunteers.  (Volunteers Dig Through Rubble of Collapsed Factory After Mexico Earthquake)

Now that the focus has turned from rescue to recovery, with little or no help from large organizations especially in outlying areas, the Mexican people have come together to do what must be done to aid earthquake survivors. (Mexicans show the world how to work together when an earthquake hitsTime stands still for town in Xochimilco)

I’m sure you’ve encountered the “Lone Wolf” survivalist mentality from time to time. But, did you know that humans are biologically wired for compassion? (The Compassionate Instinct) And that we are cooperative rather than competitive beings? (Are People Naturally Inclined to Cooperate or Be Selfish?)  You can be sure that the community around you will remember your actions (or lack of activity) in a crisis situation like an earthquake.Therefore, the best chance you have for survival in the next SHTF situation is making yourself an essential part of a cooperative assistance group in the current one, not hoarding your supplies and brandishing your shotgun.  With that in mind, after you have checked that you and yours are fine, go out and do what you can to help.

At the moment, Mexico needs rebuilding assistance. Here’s how you can help.

Architects and structural engineers are needed to help inspect homes damaged during the earthquakes in Mexico last month. Salva Tu Casa, Mancera Miguel MX, YonoFui

Therapists are needed to provide counseling to affected survivors. APM Online,  TerrapiMX  and Terapify

Habitat for Humanity in Mexico. Volunteer to rebuild homes!

Not able to volunteer at the moment?  Donations are appreciated.

Global Giving  

Diego Luna, Gael García Bernal, Ambulante and Omaze are joining forces to help the victims of the earthquake in Mexico.

Reconstruyamos México: Viviendas en Oaxaca

Zapatistas (EZLN) Solidarity bank deposits for indigenous reconstruction

Donate with Google

Donation matching at Kichink

Relief 4 Marginalized Zones in MX

Studio de Baile International is accepting donations for the town of Atzala, Puebla.

brunch

Or contact me and I can send you contact information for individuals who could use help rebuilding or repairing their homes.

 

 

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