Heaven forbid the day should ever come but around the world, earthquakes appear very frequently, as the diagram below demonstrates. When that happens, don’t assume you will be able to Google your way through, or phone a friend. Likelihood is for the short term at least, you will need to be self-sufficient, without communications, if you are in the middle of an earthquake location, e.g. Bucharest.
For the more serious earthquakes, with little or no warning, your survival situation changes very quickly. In Romania, we have an advanced warning system capable of a 21 to 28 seconds warning at best, perhaps less. The World Bank evaluated the damages caused to Bucharest by the 1977 earthquake to about 2.05 billion dollars, an amount that represents 2/3 of the total costs of the damages in all of Romania. During the 1977 earthquake were recorded 1578 deaths, 11,300 injured people and 35,000 houses destroyed. 480 people died from burns caused by gas fires, since after the earthquake the gas was still pumped in the gas pipes of towns. We can reduce the damage through rapid and proper actions.
Of those whose homes/ offices that remained intact, many were temporarily without water, electricity, heating, gas and phone service.
In order to prepare for a major earthquake, we present below a list of supplies the Red Cross recommends you keep at hand. Try to keep a kit at home & another at work. Get yourself down to Carrefour etc this weekend, get a few big plastic containers, & fill it with the following.
- Store in plastic containers & avoid using containers that decompose/ break, such as milk cartons or glass bottles.
- A normally active person needs to drink at least two litres of water each day. Hot environments and intense physical activity can double that amount. Children, nursing mothers, and ill people will need more. Store 3 litres of water per person per day of isolation & prepare for at least 3 days. Don’t forget your pets. Two for drinking, one for each person in your household for food preparation/sanitation).
- Change this water every six months.
- Use household liquid bleach to kill microorganisms in drinking water: Add 1 to 5 drops of bleach per 1 litre of water, stir and let stand for 30 minutes. If the water does not have a slight bleach odor, repeat the dosage and let stand another 15 minutes. The only agent used to treat water should be household liquid bleach. Other chemicals, such as iodine or water treatment products sold in camping or surplus stores that do not contain around 5% percent sodium hypochlorite as the only active ingredient, are not recommended and should not be used.
- Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, vegetables, canned juices, milk, soup
- Sugar, salt, pepper
- High energy foods e.g. peanut butter, jelly, cookies, granola bars, trail mix; foods that will not increase thirst.
- Foods for infants, elderly, persons with special dietary needs
- Comfort/stress foods: cookies, hard candy, sweetened cereals, lollipops, instant coffee, and tea bags.
- Pet food, at least one portion per animal pound per day.
- Avoid foods like rice, pasta and dry beans that require a great deal of water to prepare. Remember to restock your food once a year.
FIRST AID KIT
- Sterile adhesive bandages in assorted sizes
- Assorted sizes of safety pins
- Cleansing agent/soap
- Latex gloves (2 pairs)
- Small & large sterile gauze pads
- Triangular bandages (3)
- Non-prescription drugs such as Pain relievers, Anti-diarrhea medicines, Antacid, Syrup of Ipecac (used to induce vomiting with the advice of a Poison Control Center), Laxatives, Activated charcoal (used with advice from the Poison Control Center)
- Various roller bandages
- Scissors, tweezers, needle
- Moistened wipes
- Surgical blades
- Tube of petroleum jelly or other lubricant
TOOLS AND SUPPLIES
- Paper cups, plates, and plastic utensils
- Battery-operated radio and extra batteries
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Cash or traveler’s checks, in case banks are closed in the days following an earthquake
- Non-electric can opener or a utility knife
- Small fire extinguisher
- Pliers, multi screwdriver, electrical tape, gaffa tape
- Matches in a waterproof container
- Aluminum foil
- Plastic storage containers
- Signal flare (available from boating stores)
- Paper, pencil, needles, thread, medicine dropper
- Tools to turn off gas and water
- Toilet paper
- Soap, liquid detergent
- Feminine supplies
- Plastic garbage bags and ties
- Plastic bucket with tight lid
- Household chlorine bleach
- Poop bags and scooper for pet waste
CLOTHING AND BEDDING
- Sturdy shoes or work boots (keep near your bed)
- Rain gear
- Blankets or sleeping bags
- Warm clothing
- Sunglasses (keep your spare eyeglasses in the emergency kit, too.)
- Translation English/Romanian dictionary
- Will, insurance policies, contracts deeds, stocks and bonds
- Passports, CNP or social security cards, medical records
- Bank account numbers
- Credit card account numbers and companies
- Inventory of valuable household goods, important telephone numbers
- Family records (birth, marriage, death certificates)
It is a good idea to email these documents to yourself also in case you lose originals so you can later retrieve them online.
**Remember to include special needs family/ team members such as a baby or an older person might have. It is also good to store in a water proof plastic bag important family/ team documents (passports, wills, medical records etc.) along with your earthquake survival kit.