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   Local Government, Business and School Planning Guide  

Earthquakes strike suddenly and destructively, causing deaths, injuries, and property damage. Yet, injuries and damage can be reduced or avoided entirely if appropriate preparedness measures are taken. Steps that local governments, businesses, and schools can take to prepare for earthquakes follow:

  • Prepare and regularly update disaster plans. Address both response and recovery issues.
  • Institute ongoing training programs in emergency procedures, first aid, CPR, evacuation, search and rescue, use of fire extinguishers, and damage assessment.
  • Hold periodic drills and exercises.
  • Consult local building codes to ensure that your building meets current structural safety standards.
  • Conduct "hazard hunts" to find nonstructural hazards in offices, classrooms, storerooms, laboratories, warehouses, and manufacturing areas.
  • Determine and post primary and alternate routes for emergency evacuation of the building, should that be necessary after an earthquake. Establish procedures for those needing evacuation assistance.
  • Educate staff, as applicable, on earthquake effects on high-rise buildings. (Lower floors will shake rapidly. Movement on upper floors will be slower, but the building will sway farther from side to side.)
  • Secure and anchor equipment and furniture, including bookshelves, cabinets, computers, typewriters, water heaters, other gas appliances, and laboratory equipment.
  • Include articles on business and home earthquake safety in employee newsletters, or provide employees with brochures or flyers.
  • Obtain agreements with vendors for post-earthquake operations.
  • Develop an inventory of critical supplies and equipment.
  • Assemble emergency kits with water, first aid supplies, radios, flashlights, batteries, heavy gloves, food, and sanitation supplies. Maintain the kits in a secure, accessible location.

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