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It’s never too early to prepare your home and family for an earthquake The earthquakes that hit Southern California last week left residents unnerved. The 6.4 magnitude quake hit near Ridgecrest last Thursday, was followed the next day by a 7.1 magnitude quake, the largest in Southern California in 20 years. The quake was also felt in Las Vegas and Mexico, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

It is never too early to prepare your home and family for an earthquake, says Alan Barbic, president of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS®. “We need to review and practice earthquake safety measures, so if an earthquake or any kind of disaster strikes, we will be ready.”

This is why SILVAR periodically reminds consumers of the following important earthquake safety measures for homeowners from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), California’s Department of Conservation and the USGS:

Identify Potential Hazards in Your Home and Fix Them

• Move furniture away from where people sit, sleep, or spend a lot of time. Move heavy objects to lower shelves and secure hanging objects, cabinet doors and appliances with safety straps, fasteners and adhesives. Move flammable or hazardous materials stored in garages and utility rooms to low, more secure areas.

• Replace rigid gas connections to water heaters and other gas appliances with flexible (corrugated) stainless steel gas connectors. Excess-flow gas-shutoff valves for individual appliances will stop gas flow in case of a catastrophic leak.

Create a Disaster Supply Kit and Keep it in an Accessible Location

• First aid supplies, with medications not requiring refrigeration, including spare eyeglasses and essential hygiene items

• Drinking water (minimum one gallon per person per day)

• Whistle (to alert rescuers to your location)

• Emergency cash in small bills (ATMs may not work)

• Snack foods high in calories, canned and packaged foods and cooking utensils, including a manual can opener and food and a leash or carrier for your pet

• A working flashlight with extra batteries and/or light sticks

• Baby formula or powdered milk for infants, disposable diapers, baby wipes, bottles, pacifiers and comfort items for your children, like stuffed animals and other toys

• A battery-operated radio (and spare batteries)

• Warm clothing, gloves, sturdy shoes, extra socks, blankets/sleeping bags, dust masks

• Heavy-duty plastic bags for waste and other uses

• A-B-C type fire extinguisher

• Copies of vital documents, such as insurance policies, personal identification, medical consent forms for dependents

Replace perishable items like water, food, medication and batteries on a yearly basis.

Create a Disaster Preparedness Plan

Decide how and where your family will reunite if separated during a quake. Select an out-of-state friend or relative to call and alert other relatives and friends that you are all right.

During an Earthquake, Drop! Cover! and Hold On!

If you are indoors, drop to the ground, take cover by getting under a sturdy desk or table, or stand against an interior wall. Stay away from exterior walls and windows. If you are outdoors, stay clear of buildings and power lines. If there is no shelter nearby, cover your head and neck with one arm and hand. Hold on until the shaking stops.

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