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Getting Your Family Ready for Earthquakes

Last week in Southern California, we had a state-wide earthquake drill. Yes, state-wide. It was highly publicized, and my kids were excited about it. It was their first official drill at school.

As a California native, I only remember feeling one big earthquake before I got married and had kids. I was in middle school, and while I was scared, I thought it was the coolest thing ever. Fast forward to now, and my perspective of earthquakes has changed significantly. I have three kids in two different schools and a husband who works in a different city. How would I handle the “big” one? How can I be in two places at once? We’ve had family meetings and discussed what we should do if we were to experience an earthquake at home, school, and even church. The kids were filled with questions, and I am so happy that they know what to do in case of any seismic activity.

Here are 5 must-have conversations we ALL need to have with our family to be prepared for a major earthquake.

  • Are You Ready for the Big One? 1 of 6
    the great shake out

    Being prepared for any size tremor is essential for all who live in earthquake-prone areas. Take a look at 5 conversations you MUST HAVE with your family.

  • Facing the Facts 2 of 6
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    If you live anywhere on the west coast, then you need to face the scary facts when it comes to earthquakes. But just as adults need to deal with the tremors, so do kids. Your kids need to know what to do when the earth starts to shake beneath them. My 8-year-old son started to cry when we started to talk about earthquakes, but he needed to hear about the facts. The shaking, the noises, the aftermath.  We spoke about it all.

     

    We comforted him with reassurance that we will always be sure that all three kids will be safe, even at school, but there might be times in which I or my husband won't be with them. All three kids now know this.

  • Location, Location, Location 3 of 6
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    You need to make sure your kids know what to do if any seismic activity should occur at home, school, markets, or church! I told them to stay where they are and not to run outside. Since I'm a stay at home mom, my first priority would be to pick up my daughter (the youngest) first, and I told them that. No matter what. I told my kids that if we should have an earthquake and I'm not with them, my main priority is to get to them as soon as possible. I stressed this over and over again, because I wanted them to know that they'd be fine, no matter where they are. They will be okay.

  • Practice Drills! 4 of 6
    earthquake drills

    Have an earthquake drill at home! Do a walk-through in your home and point out where they should seek shelter during an earthquake.  We did this, and boy were we surprised with how we have our home set up! Our dining table has glass in it, so the option of them ducking under the table is gone. We showed them to hide in the corner of the playroom. This space is away from the second floor, and if anything should come down, it's only the ceiling/roof. Scary stuff, but it has to be done! Just like schools prepare for it, we need to do it at home, too!

    Photo Source: Benjamin Chun/Flickr

  • Supplies 5 of 6
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    Can you believe that this is the first year ever that we each have our own earthquake kits at home? I'm so bad. We each have one case of water, snacks, flashlights, clothes, asthma meds for my son, and little games for the kids to play with for distraction. Talk to your kids about why you need this and why you DON'T touch or play with the supplies under any circumstances, except during a major earthquake, and show the kids where these supplies are kept in your home. These kits will be your lifesavers!

    Photo Source:  RXB/Flickr

  • Tap on the Resources 6 of 6
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    The amount of resources for earthquake preparedness is vast. Check out a book at the library if your kids require some visual aids. I don't recommend watching a video of actual earthquakes. I want my kids to be prepared, not freaked out. I didn't feel my first real earthquake until I was in middle school, and I was outside when the 5.9 Whittier Narrows earthquake hit. As a mom, I experienced my first earthquake at home, alone with two little ones while the oldest was at Boy Scout camp. I felt so much fear for my kids, it was horrible. Was I prepared? No, I wasn't. Cell phones were down. I couldn't get ahold of my husband for 4 hours. As parents, we need to be prepared.

     

    Read. Prepare. Act.

Even if earthquakes are rare in your area, I want to invite you to visit www.shakeout.org for more info on how to prepare for an earthquake.

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