Is my home safe?

Is my home safe?

Well this weeks events have caused me to give this topic a lot of thought.  For those of you just joining me who haven’t read the previous posts………..we had an earthquake!  Little ones are an everyday small we don’t notice them..this one was 6.1 of enormous shake…followed by some pretty meaty aftershocks.

The press coverage totally sensationalised events.  Reading what the papers say happened is making wonder if they are writing about the same place….they even have pictures of traffic jams as people flee in fear of a Tsunami…..must have missed that bit – obviously too busy worrying about the likelihood of another big shake.

Understandably talk on the street is mostly about the quake and what we should do in the event of another one. In the UK they told us we should always have a planned escape route out of our homes in case of fire they also urged us all to have smoke alarms and check them regularly.  I don’t know anyone who did either….smoke alarms were checked once a week for about 3 weeks then not at all until the beeping of the dying battery started…then we try to work out how to stop the beeping and then we take the battery out.

I don’t think it’s because we don’t care I just think we genuinally believe that terrible things happen to other people.  People I know who have working smoke alarm batteries get used to the alarm going off if they burn toast or use the grill and start ignoring the noise or take the batteries out.

It’s much the same with earthquakes.  The local council has  a booklet thoughtfully translated into English – with useful topics such as how to prepare,what at to do before,during and after a quake.  Up until 24 hours after the quake I had never read it.  I kind of knew it existed and there’s a useful on line guide in our local paper – I just never thought I’d need to know that stuff or thought it would be common sense.

I’ve read it now..  I know every word.  I could deliver training on it and have bored scores of people with my advice on what they should be doing.  Most people think I’m panicking and keep reminding me that we probably won’t have another one.  But I slept semi easily in my bed last night….knowing that both my husband and I are going to react in the same way if it happens during the night and that we have a small emergency bag each which sit beside the bed.  They will stay there until the aftershocks have subsided and then I’m going to organise a proper one with copies of our passports etc…..and keep it near the front door forever.

We live on a fault line. The chances of us having another quake are likely. Maybe not be this month or year but we will get one at some point.  My husbands home town was destroyed by a 7.1 last October and no one was prepared for it. The temperatures  were below freezing and they were camping out in tents in the snow.    Thousands of buildings were destroyed.  Luckily where we are is mostly low rise buildings and since 2000 buildings have to have been constructed in such a way to be  earthquake resistant…but I for one am taking the time and effort to put a few essentials together to ensure in the absolute worst case scenario we will have access to medication, basic first aid supplies, and drinking water.

The world is a strange place.  This last 18 months have seen earthquakes, civil wars and economic problems that no one thought would ever happen. I remember watching a programme about the Middle East and they were interviewing expats who had been evacuated – they had left everything behind ….that could be me one day. If the political situation changed suddenly and the UK government  advised all British people to leave the country –  I wouldn’t want to be searching for my passport and birth certificate.  From now on the Boy Scouts  won’t be a match for me…….my new motto is be prepared.

Seriously…..bad things happen to anyone not just those mythical other people. Check those  smoke alarms, make sure that everyone in the family knows what to do if there is a fire, flood, earthquake or other act of God especially at night.  Pack an emergency bag so that if you have to leave your home suddenly you have things that are going to be essential.  I stood outside on the street on Sunday after the second quake had hit and thought what if the house falls down?  All I had was my phone with no credit on it, my IPad, and  no money.  We had no electricity, no network coverage on the phone and no Internet for about 40 minutes…….a very long time when your family are watching news reports elsewhere and can’t contact you.

If you are British take a few minutes to register on the Foreign Office  website.  They have a locate facility and you can let them know where you are living or travelling if outside the UK.

Now that I have everything covered I can semi relax and get on with enjoying my life the the sun.

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