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Earthquakes: Be Prepared!

In 2011 areas not normally prone to earthquakes, such as Oklahoma, Arkansas and Virginia, saw significant tectonic activity of a magnitude of 4.7 or higher. While rare in these areas, it does go to show that everyone should have an earthquake preparedness kit in the event of the unthinkable happening. As the saying goes, it's better to be safe than to be sorry.

Whether you are purchasing an earthquake preparedness kit or putting one together on your own, there are definitely some guidelines and tips to follow when obtaining your earthquake preparedness kit.  It's not terribly expensive, and could save your life in the right situation.  Here's a few tips to help get you started:

Make sure you obtain your kit before you are a quake victim. This may seem like simple logic to some, but others might not know. These kits are designed to help you after an earthquake to cope with a variety of situations that may come up as a direct result of the quake.

Your kit should anticipate power outages. When a quake hits, electrical service is the most common utility to become disrupted. Make sure your kit has at least two sources of light. A flashlight is a good start, but also consider emergency candles and long-lasting glowsticks. Matches are an excellent idea as they can not only provide light, but can also provide heat and help with building fires for cooking; just make sure that the matches you have are waterproof.

Keep your kit in an easily accessible place. Should you be the victim of an earthquake, you will want to get out of your house as soon as possible. Time spent searching for your earthquake preparedness kit is time better spent getting to safety.

Also ensure that you have supplies for at least 72 hours. Your kit should have enough bottled water and freeze dried or otherwise preserved food to provide you with sustenance for at least 72 hours. It can sometimes take rescue efforts three days or more to reach you, and you wouldn't want to go hungry or thirsty during that time.

There are a few tools you will want to include in your earthquake preparedness kit. Make sure it packs a multipurpose tool that includes a knife. Another good item to have is a whistle to make it easier to alert others around you of your presence. Other good additions are leather-palmed work gloves, duct tape, a small pry bar, a sewing kit, dust masks, a tarp for protection from the elements and a deck of cards for entertainment. You should consider that you will likely have to "rough it" for a few days after the quake, so these things can make it much easier. If you have room in your kit, consider a warm blanket in case the earthquake happens during colder times of the year.

Another of the most important things you can have in your earthquake preparedness kit is a well-stocked first aid kit. Periodically check the perishable items in your first aid kit, such as antibiotic ointments and the like, to make sure that they haven't expired and, if they have, replace them. Expired items can have a reduced effectiveness, or worse no effectiveness at all, when you need them the most.

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