Earthquake’s, also known as a quake, tremor or temblor – are the result of a sudden burst of energy from the Earth’s crust creating torrents of seismic waves. The seismic activity of an area relates to the occurrence, type and dimensions of earthquakes accumulated over a period of time. The more numerous earthquakes smaller than magnitude five reported by national seismological observatories are measured mostly on the local magnitude scale, also referred to as the Richter scale.
Smoldering after the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco. Taken from the tower of the Union Ferry Building. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
1. Earthquake Insurance
We never know what the providence has in store for us. The best thing we humans can do is to remain prepared against any natural disasters or untoward incidents.
Nowadays, insurance provides financial protection against losses for persons or businesses. Over the years, the domain has expanded to encompass almost every type of disaster that is of common occurrence on earth. Earthquake insurance is one such policy that covers one from losses incurred due to a cataclysmic earthquake or any earth movement such as mudflow, landslide, mudslide or sinkhole that involves the sinking, rising or shifting of earth. But it excludes losses incurred due to floods and tidal waves – even if the disaster had been compounded by an earthquake.
An important thing one should realize is that earthquake insurance is not a part of the homeowner and tenant insurance policies. Instead, it is a different deal altogether that one needs to subscribe separately.
Earthquake insurance – unlike other homeowner polices – mainly covers major losses. The claim is usually paid after accounting for all deductibles, which in the general case falls between 10% and 25%. Given the present trend, the deductibles are on a spiral up the scale.
The payment structure works much like the auto insurance. The damage that exceeds the deductibles is only paid. Some policies take in to account, the structure and contents as different entities. In such cases, the deductible applies separately to the total losses on structure, of contents and the damage occurred to external structures like sheds, garages, retaining walls or driveways.
Some insurance providers put forward stringent requirements before issuing a policy – they insist on an inspection of one’s property before signing the deal. For example, many insurance companies require that one’s home is securely bolted to the basement. The inspection also considers bracing on interior walls, the manner in which shelves are fixed and the way strapping guards are used to hold fixtures. But these are no big revamp and won’t be expensive. Ideally, the prospective customers should get their side clear before inviting the insurance company inspection team to the house.
Once an earthquake occurs, no more earthquake insurance policies will be issued until the declared moratorium expires; that is after the chance for further damaging aftershocks has lingered.
After the damage has occurred, it is very important to make the claim, supported with all the required documents, in a definite period of time as mandated by the company’s terms and conditions. Not reporting in the stipulated time is valid grounds for the insurance company to reject one’s claim for insurance.
Consumers should consider their requirements and circumstances before applying for earthquake insurance. Sometimes, it can be argued that his/her house is situated in a low risk area. But it is always better to be in a safer side with one’s home. After all, our homes are our biggest assets.
2. Are Your Finances Strong Enough To Repair Earthquake Damages? Are your finances strong enough to repair damages to your home and possessions caused by earthquakes? Unless you’re wealthy, repairing damages to your home and possessions caused by earthquakes might pose strain on your finances, and let’s face it -damages caused by an earthquake are usually serious enough to need immediate repairing.
Unfortunately, most basic homeowner’s insurance policies do not include the repair of damages caused to your home and your possessions due to an earthquake, nor do they compensate you for the damages and loss your valuables suffer due to an earthquake. And again, unless you’re wealthy, your finances might not be able to stretch far enough to cover all of these costs yourself. Plus, some valuables just can’t be replaced, such as family heirlooms.
So, how can you get earthquake insurance?
You can usually add additional coverage to your current homeowner’s insurance policy; this should be seriously considered by those that live in areas that are highly susceptible to earthquakes such as California. This additional coverage can include a plethora of factors, such as the repair and replacement of your earthquake-damaged property; the repair and replacement of the contents of your earthquake-damaged home; and even the cost of temporary living expenses in the event that your home is completely destroyed due to an earthquake.
Additional insurance can also cover buildings adjacent to your home, such as a garage.
Your premium for adding additional insurance for earthquakes will depend on several factors. Older homes, homes made of brick, and homes located in earthquake prone areas will generally have higher premiums than newer homes, homes made of wood, and homes not located in earthquake prone areas.
When choosing additional insurance for earthquakes, you should choose to purchase enough coverage to pay for completely rebuilding your home and replacing or repairing your damages. This way, you’ll rest assured that you, your home, and your possessions are completely covered, no matter what.
3. Tips on What You Should Do During Earthquake Emergencies Scientists have not yet really determined a way to predict an earthquake. That is why, when a strong earthquake strikes, a lot of people gets injured, or even killed, and properties gets damaged. The only thing we can do, if we live in an area near fault lines, is to be prepared everyday for such eventualities.
Here are the things you should do to prepare for an earthquake:
Prepare an emergency kit
You will never know what will happen after a quake, thus, you should always have an emergency kit for everyone in your household. Each kit must contain at least one gallon of water, food supply for at least three days (you should select non-perishable food), and first aid kit.
You should ensure that you regularly change the food and water in your emergency kit. The food and water in your kit will be of little use if they are already not fit to eat or drink. Instead of saving your life, such might even exacerbate your situation.
Know the mains of your utilities
Earthquake might cause fire from gas leaks and electricity. Thus, it is important that you know where the main switches of your utilities are so that you can turn them off when needed.
Inspect your house for cracks and fissures
You must regularly check the condition of your house to ensure that it can withstand even a strong earthquake. Be sure to have the cracks on your walls, chimney and even door frames fixed. If you live in an apartment, report cracks and fissures to your landlord immediately, so that he or she can do something about the situation.
Have an evacuation plan
You and your family must make an emergency plan for disasters, such as fire, floods, and earthquakes. Each member of the family should know what to do in case of such incidents. You will be able to protect your family more if you prepare them earlier. Panic and confusion can often lead to injuries accidents.
Here are the things you should do during an earthquake:
The first thing you and your family should do is to stay away from objects that might fall off. Stay away from book cases, cabinets, and hanging objects, such as chandeliers, or ceiling fan.
During an earthquake, it is wiser that you stay put, particularly under sturdy tables or door frames. Do not run around or even attempt to get out of the house. There are more dangerous things outside your house that could injure you, such as lampposts and cars.
Make sure that the emergency kit that you prepared is easily accessible. If possible, place it in a location where you and your family will run into during a quake.
Stay away from the kitchen. One of the most dangerous places in the house during an earthquake is the kitchen because there are many pots and pans hanging around and drawers full of knives and cutlery. Furthermore, there is a danger of a gas leak in the kitchen that might cause fire.
What to do after the earthquake
Do not attempt to light a match or a candle immediately after the quake; you are not sure if there are gas leaks. Lighting up a match might ignite a fire, so be very careful. If you can, shut off the main gas valve if you smell gas.
If you suspect a gas leak, open the windows and evacuate your house immediately. You should also call the gas company once you are away from the gas leak. Do not try to call, especially using your mobile phone, near gas leaks.
There will sure be aftershocks after an earthquake, so do not let your guard down even if your house is intact and all the members of your family are well. Be sure to check the news for information about the quake and other important updates.
4. Putting Together a Home Earthquake Kit If you live in an area prone to seismic activity, it’s vitally important that you have an earthquake kit in your house or in your car so that you’ll have emergency supplies if you need them. Even if you don’t live in an area that is prone to earthquakes, you might want to create a basic disaster survival kit to be used in case of tornados or other types of natural disasters.
Ideally, your earthquake kit should contain enough supplies for you and your family to survive for a period of up to three days. Beyond the basic considerations of food and water that are physically necessary for survival, you will also need a few additional items to help you make it through the aftermath of an earthquake.
One of the first things that you’ll need is some sort of light source in case the electricity has been knocked out in your area. Since you’re going to want to make sure that your light will work when needed, your best bet is to choose an LED flashlight or lantern since they have a drastically reduced energy usage and will keep a charge longer in storage than most standard flashlights. Test any LED flashlight that you have every few months to make sure that it still works, and if you’re using an LED lantern that has multiple lighting modes then you should take the time to test every one of its modes.
Another essential piece of equipment is a multi-purpose tool that has knife blades, pliers, screwdrivers, and even saw blades and can openers in it. Be sure to store your multi-purpose tool with your LED lantern or LED flashlights so that you can find it quickly once you’ve located your light source. You’d be amazed at how useful a multi-purpose tool can be after an earthquake, and you may even find uses for it that you’ve never considered.
Also in your earthquake kit should be a fully-stocked first aid kit so that you can treat any injuries that might have occurred during the earthquake. Make sure that you have common items such as blankets, toilet paper, and hand sanitizer with your first aid kit so that you can cover basic needs and provide warmth and sanitation for anyone who is suffering from shock as well.
Other useful things to include in your earthquake kit include enough money or traveler’s checks to be able to meet any monetary needs that you might have in case the banks are closed due to the earthquake. You should also have a safe with copies of any important documents that you don’t want to be lost or damaged in an earthquake, as well as clean clothes for both warm and cold weather so that you and your family won’t be forced to wear the same clothes for several days in a row.
Make sure that you check the expiration dates on any food or medicine that you keep in your earthquake kit, and change out any stored water that you have every few months. This will prevent you or your family members from getting sick due to expired food or stale water.
Preparing an earthquake kit is an important activity that should be done as a family to ensure that everyone knows how to use the items inside and where to find it if an earthquake occurs. Being prepared for a disaster may very well save a person’s life.
~Ben Anton, 2008
5. Tips on earthquake emergency preparation The year 1906 was a determining factor in how future resident of the San Francisco area would live their lives. Will they be able to sleep peacefully at night knowing that anything can happen between the time they slept and the time they will be awake. But the question for most people is the possibility that they may never wake up again.
The same goes for the people in Mexico, Baguio in the Philippines, Indonesia, Japan and other countries that have been victimized by strong earthquakes. Most of these people were caught unaware and this made the disaster more disastrous.
San Franciscans are aware that someday, their city will fall into the depths of the city. But why do they continue to live in a city, which though beautiful, is a catastrophe waiting to happen again?
Most of the people living in earthquake-prone areas prefer to live each day with the thought that they might never wake up again. However, what makes them different from majority of the people living safe lives in safe places is the fact that they are aware that a tragedy like an earthquake may strike them anytime and they are prepared for it.
These people party and live life to the fullest but they made sure they live in earthquake-safe buildings. Most of the high rise establishments were constructed with a strong earthquake in mind
Jason, a technology specialist lives in the Marina area which is the most earthquake-prone area in the city. While he accepts that he is taking a big risk living in that area, he takes no chances and always stores several gallons of water nearby.
He has also prepared earthquake packs and emergency kits containing first aid medicines as well as food packs that can be eaten right out of the packet. He also has extra flashlights, batteries and other thing-a-magics guaranteed to make any normal person flip out.
The most important thing to remember during an earthquake is to duck and keep off everything heavy that may fall on anyone. However, there are other earthquake emergency tips that will benefit any person who would be faced with an emergency earthquake situation at any time in his life.
When faced with an earthquake circumstance, it is always better to seek refuge from tables that can protect a person from heavy objects that are falling from everywhere. When this is however not practical, a person should immediately go out and proceed to an open area without the danger of falling trees, high rises or power cables.
Those who are caught driving when an earthquake occurs would be better off if they stay inside their car. When inside a grocery or a mall, make sure that the person is away from heavy shelves and other objects. When inside a theater or a sports stadium and an earthquake occurs, never run for safety and join the hundreds of people doing the same. Duck under the seat and wait until everything clears up.
A lot of people get hurt or even die not because of the earthquake itself but because of panic and failure to prepare for such an emergency. It is always helpful to have an emergency earthquake plan even if earthquakes are not common in the area.
Survival will always depend on how prepared a person is for emergencies. People who have not prepared for the worse case scenario are the ones who have the tendency to panic. And in most cases, those who panic and lose their presence of mind become the first victims of any emergency,
6. Stay Alive: Earthquake Emergency Preparation Tips Earthquakes are among the most devastating natural disasters. What makes it more annihilating is the fact that there is no precise way of predicting when an earthquake may occur. The most effective tactic to minimize the effects of earthquakes in human lives is to make adequate earthquake emergency preparations.
During an earthquake, you will feel the ground shaking or rolling. If the movement of the
Earth’s crust is really violent, you might even hear the ground rumbling or roaring. These earthquake characteristics may cause you to panic and eventually jeopardize your chance of survival. While strong and devastating earthquakes seldom happen, even in places located in the Earth’s ring of fire, it is imperative that you have an emergency plan so that you and your family can stay safe. Here are a few pointers to remember to keep you prepared for an earthquake.
Practice Makes Safety
The key to being safe during an earthquake is having quick reaction. As soon as the ground shakes violently, you should know what to do as if by instincts. To be able to react fast during earthquakes, you must regularly conduct earthquake drills. This will keep you on your feet when the real thing comes.
Plan Your Home Structure
If you are living in a place that is frequented by earthquakes, you must plan your home in such a way that it will not become your deathbed. Use light materials for your home and provide ample exit ways to run to during emergencies. Collapsing home and building materials commonly cause injuries and deaths during earthquakes; and to avoid this, you must make sure that most of your home structure and appliances are not heavy enough to crush you.
Make sure also that your place has strong doorways or doorframes; as statistically these places are the most likely places that can withstand earthquakes. Fasten tall and heavy fixtures to the wall. And ensure that your cabinets have latches so that whatever they contain will not fall out during an earthquake.
Plan For Everybody
Everybody in your office or home should know your emergency plan for an earthquake. Make sure that everybody understands the procedures to perform whenever the big shaker happens. Coordination is an important survival aspect particularly after the earthquake.
Know Your Place
Knowing where to run and hide for cover during an earthquake may save your life and limbs. Learn the safe spots of your home or office. And practice going to these safe spots so that you can immediately react by going into these places during an actual earthquake.
Also plan a meeting place for your officemates or family where all of you can gather yourselves up after an earthquake.
In your office or within your family, assign duties that everybody must perform during earthquakes. Earthquake preparation should never be a one-man job. Your officemates and family members should be made to understand of what to do, especially if you are not with them during an earthquake.
Have Emergency Kits On Standby
Finally, you must have a number of emergency kits ready in the office or at home. These kits must have the bare essentials that can help preserve life during emergencies. From drinking water, food, to first aid materials, your emergency kits will be your lifelines. Make sure that everybody knows where these emergency kits are kept.