You never know when disaster will strike. Meet three survivors from three recent natural disasters: Hurricane Sandy; the Moore, Oklahoma tornado; and the Poinsettia Wildfire outside of San Diego. Watch their stories and then log on to www.ready.gov/prepare for more information on what you can do to prepare you and your family or your business. Be Smart. Take Part. Prepare.
My wife and I have recently been (slowly) assembling an earthquake survival kit at our home….better late than never, right? So what better timing to catch this story in the Los Angeles Times.
I never really thought about stocking up my car, but that wouldn’t be a bad idea.
Here’s a nice little visual to reference which was also taken from the L.A. Times on Preparing your earthquake survival kit
Here in Southern California, we really haven’t dealt with any large significant tremors since the 1994 Northridge earthquake so it’s easy to get complacent about being prepared with an earthquake survival kit. Like us, start thinking about putting one together in your house or car! Better late than never!
Plain and simple, natural disasters are horrendous! To put it politely, they S-U-C-K! Floods, tornado’s, hurricane’s, volcanic eruption’s, landslide’s, and notoriously here in California…earthquakes! All these natural disasters lead to some kind of loss, whether it be financial, environmental, or human loss. In most cases, there’s actually some degree of advanced warning as to when a natural disaster might strike. Take hurricane’s for example. We are able to pinpoint powerful storms in advance and prepare accordingly. If nothing else, this allows us to reduce the probability of human loss.
In an article published by Fox News, there is now “a state-of-the-art, first-in-the-world earthquake detection system in now installed and operational” in southern California, near Palm Springs, in the Coachella Valley. In fact, twelve locations are now in place with 120 sites planned, all meant to detect an earthquake and give people a chance to duck and cover, or brace themselves before the shaking begins.
This earthquake detection system was created by a company called QuakeGuard. The system works by way of sensors which are designed to detect the initial, or “P” energy waves given off by every quake, even though it’s only the later, or “S” waves that do all the damage. The time in-between the two waves varies depending on the proximity to the epicenter and as the first sensor closest to the quake goes off, it can offer advance notice — from a few seconds to a full minute– to other locations farther away.
The system can also be set to automatically open fire station doors, and water and gas valves for municipalities could be shut off. Back-up generators for hospitals could be turned on and, most importantly, warn school kids to duck and take cover.
Of the 12 sets of sensors currently set in place throughout the Coachella Valley in Southern California, all are tied to fire stations. Soon, they will be networked to every school in the area. Down the road, they can possibly be linked to hospitals, private businesses and even people’s homes.
A mobile system is also in development and would help rescue crews detect aftershocks. A few seconds could get rescuers out from under the rubble and thus out of harm’s way.
How great would this be for California or for any other regions affected by the earth moving?? It’ll be interesting to see how technology progresses. In this case, not soon enough! We can’t stop an earthquake, but it would be nice to be warned if one is on the way . The sudden jolt of the earth shifting is the probably the scariest part of an earthquake in my opinion. Let alone the damage and destruction that comes with it.
Would an earthquake detection system ease your fear of earthquakes?
For you Californians out there, according to the US Geological Survey, there is a 60% chance that a 6.7 magnitude or greater earthquake will occur in California in the next 30 years. I’ve been hearing that since elementary school so I don’t know how much longer we have if this is true. An earthquake of this size can can severely strain public services and disrupt business operations. The best way to survive an earthquake is to prepare before a big one hits. Here are some earthquake safety recommendations to consider for general guidance purposes.
Prepare your workplace for an earthquake
- Large equipment such as boilers, tanks, and machines need to be secured properly so they will not fall over in an earthquake.
- Furniture such as bookshelves and file cabinets along with storage racks and shelving should be strapped or attached to the wall to keep it stable and upright.
- Survey your workspace to make sure that heavy items are stored at lower heights or secured so they won’t fall.
- Photos and pictures should be hung onto the wall with screws or earthquake “j” clips.
- Keep doors, exits, and aisle ways clear at all times for quick evacuations.
- Keep areas under desks and tables uncluttered to make room to take cover in an earthquake.
- Store chemicals properly and in compatible groups.
Gather emergency supplies for the workplace
- Fire extinguishers should be charged and inspected monthly so they are always ready to use.
- Periodically test fire alarms, sprinklers, and emergency lighting.
- Keep flashlights, a radio, extra batteries, and a first aid kit on hand at all times.
- Consider stockpiling food, water, blankets, and sanitary supplies such as toilet paper and portable toilets.
- Keep enough supplies for the number of workers that may need to shelter or work at your facility after an earthquake.
- Prepare personal emergency supplies for your desk and your car, including comfortable clothes and shoes, a flashlight and batteries, first aid kit, food, water, and necessary medications.
Make an emergency plan at work and at home
- Businesses must have an emergency evacuation plan that details how employees will evacuate from the building, where they will meet, how to account for everyone, and how to get further instructions to act.
- Current emergency contact phone numbers for all employees and management are critical in an emergency.
- Businesses should also list and prioritize their functions in a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) that ensures access to the people, materials, and other supplies needed to continue work after an earthquake.
- Workers should have family emergency plans in place at home in case they are stranded at work or required to work after an earthquake.
- Keep enough emergency supplies on hand to maintain your family for at least 3 days.
- Make lists of emergency contact phone numbers and determine a meeting place for the family after an emergency.
Practice and train on your emergency procedures
- Practice emergency evacuations.
- Get training on first aid and CPR techniques.
- Train and remember to Duck, Cover and Hold in an earthquake. If you cannot take cover, stand against an interior wall and protect your head and neck with your arms.
- Practice your business recovery procedures by inspecting and restarting equipment and computers in the proper and prioritized order.
Earthquakes aren’t planned, but you can at least plan and practice earthquake safety measures to increase your chances of survival.
Keep in mind that standard property insurance policies exclude coverage for damages resulting from earth movement, including earthquakes. Read more about it here. In order to cover your home or business for earthquake damage, you must purchase a separate earthquake insurance policy.
Always be prepared for an Earthquake! On October 21 at 10:21 a.m., California residents statewide practiced drop, cover and hold On in the 2010 California ShakeOut
Jimmy Kimmel prepared his staff with this hilarious video “Security Guard Adelina Braves Big Earthquake” Check out this Youtube clip from his show.
First off, what’s an endorsement you ask? As defined by the Insurance Information Institute, an endorsement is a written form attached to an insurance policy that alters the policy’s coverage, terms, or conditions. When an insurance policy is endorsed, the premium paid for the policy can change. However, not by much considering the additional coverage provided.
The following four endorsements are not typically part of a regular property or general liability insurance policy, but they are a must if they apply to your operations.
- Hired & Non-Owned Auto Liability: Hired & Non-owned auto is a small endorsement which can have a huge impact on your general liability insurance coverage. It protects your business from bodily injury and property damage claims caused by a vehicle you rent or borrow; or caused by vehicles owned by others, such as your employees. A simple errand to the store by an employee can put your business at high risk if you don’t have this endorsement on your general liability policy.
- Employee Benefits Liability: Liability of an employer for an error or omission in the administration of an employee benefit program. Coverage is intended to extend to the “administration” of these plans, including counseling employees, handling records, enrolling/terminating/cancelling employees in specified plans on a timely basis, etc. This endorsement is usually added to the general liability policy but may also be provided by a fiduciary liability policy.
- Earthquake Sprinkler Leakage (For CA & other earthquake regions): Earthquake is an excluded peril on a standard property insurance policy and your fire sprinklers bursting as a result of an earthquake and discharging water all over your property is not covered either. However, by adding an Earthquake Sprinkler Leakage endorsement to your property policy, you would be covered for the water damage caused by bursting sprinklers from an earthquake. This is never more than a few hundred dollars to add.
- Sewer Drain & Backup: Fall and spring tend to be the wettest seasons of the year, making buildings and homes most susceptible to the backup of sewer or drain lines. These events don’t occur often, but when they do, it can become a small disaster. A standard property insurance policy excludes coverage for such an event. The backup of sewer and drains as well as the failure of a sump pump is also excluded on a standard property policy. The damage you sustain from either of these problems will not be covered and you’ll be responsible to pay for the loss and the clean up. You shouldn’t go without this coverage endorsement.
To reiterate, it’s never more than a few hundred dollars annually to add any of these endorsements to your existing property or general liability insurance policies. In fact, it’s usually less than $100 in many cases for small businesses. With the amount of coverage provided by adding them, this is pocket change! Be sure to review your policies today to see if you carry these endorsements on your current policies.
Lately, Southern California has been rocking with small earthquakes. Luckily they have been small, rolling quakes for the most part, but every time they strike, they scare the crap out of people two reasons: for one, they come out of nowhere, and second, they make people brace themselves in fear that they’ll grow stronger and more violent.
A third reason why earthquakes are scary is often overlooked and unknown to many. That reason is: standard property insurance policies exclude coverage for damages resulting from earth movement, including earthquakes. So, if your home or business is destroyed in an earthquake and you don’t have a separate earthquake insurance policy, you’re out of luck.
In order to cover your home or business for earthquake damage is to purchase a separate earthquake insurance policy. Earthquake insurance covers a building and its contents, but inevitably includes a large percentage deductible on each. Even if you don’t own a building or structure, but have high value contents and possessions like stock or merchandise, you might want to consider earthquake insurance. In California, most policies are sold by the state-run insurance pool, the California Earthquake Authority (CEA), although a few private companies also sell earthquake coverage.
To determine if earthquake insurance is right for you, or how much coverage is right for you depends on your individual circumstances. The following questions may help you decide:
- Can you afford to replace your business possessions (such as stock, merchandise, furniture, computers/media, and general equipment) if they were destroyed in an earthquake? How much would they cost?
- If you have to find temporary accommodations because you cannot operate at your business location as a result of an earthquake, how much will you need to pay for those additional operating expenses?
- If you own a commercial building, how much home equity do you have? Can you afford to risk losing that equity if an earthquake damages or destroys it?
- How much would it cost to rebuild? Do you have assets available to repair or even rebuild your building after an earthquake?
- Do you have a mortgage, second mortgage, or line of credit on your commercial building? Can you afford to continue repaying those loans while also paying to rebuild or replace your structure?
Earthquakes are surprising enough when they strike. Don’t get caught off guard by your insurance policy coverages and exclusions after it’s too late. Be prepared!