“Posts!” At the desperate command everyone scrambles. Ellen rushes to steady the china cabinet while Mrs. Banks holds back a slew of picture frames.
“10, 9…” At exactly 8 A.M., the sound of a cannon is heard, and the house shakes. Mrs. Banks catches a vase as it pops off a shelf, while Ellen prevents the piano from ramming into the wall. Three seconds later all is quiet. The Banks household rights the fallen bric-a-brac and returns the piano to its station. Mr. Banks didn’t even lose a mustache hair.
Although the 1964 film, Mary Poppins, doesn’t depict an actual earthquake in the Banks household, it does represent a positive outcome. No one is hurt, and no serious losses occurred while the shaking took place. Around the globe, earthquakes are an ever-present danger that strike at any time without warning. Similar to the Banks family preparing for a cannon strike, churches and schools located in earthquake zones need to be prepared before the shaking starts.
Before the Shaking – Earthquake Proof Your Facilities
- Make sure hot water heaters and gas appliances have earthquake straps and are secured to wall studs or bolted to the floor.
- Do not hang heavy objects, such as large mirrors or pictures, near public seating areas.
- Properly secure all chandeliers, stage lighting fixtures, speakers, and mounted audio visual equipment to meet the seismic standards of your local jurisdiction.
- Anchor top-heavy freestanding bookcases, file cabinets, and other furnishings securely to wall studs.
- Store large, heavy, and breakable items on lower shelves in storage rooms.
- Install strong latches on cabinets, especially those holding fuel products, chemicals, cleaning supplies, or hazardous materials.
- Know how to shut off the gas supply valves into the building. Keep the shut-off wrench in a known location for easy access. If you smell gas after an earthquake, immediately proceed to shut off the gas supply valves until all gas-fired equipment can be properly checked for damage or leaks by a licensed HVAC contractor or the utility company.
Plan and Prepare for the Shaking
Earthquake Safety Kit Checklist
- Water for both drinking and sanitary needs – The American Red Cross recommends 1 gallon per person per day for three days.
- Food in non-perishable easy to prepare forms – Replenish food supplies annually to maintain freshness
- Sanitation supplies for personal hygiene
- Safety tools such as gloves, protective eyewear, helmets, masks, crowbars, shovels, and other tools for securing the building.
- Flashlights and a radio with extra batteries
- First Aid Kit
When the Shaking Starts
- DROP – Get down on the floor and move as little as possible.
- COVER – Stay away from windows and take cover under a sturdy table, desk, or another strong object.
- HOLD ON – If possible, cover your head and body to protect from falling objects or shattering glass and hold on.
Be prepared for an earthquake when at home, work, school, and even church. Learn more about earthquake safety in this video from FEMA and at www.ready.gov.