LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Arkansans are encouraged to take steps now in order to mitigate possible earthquake property damage, officials from the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM) announced today.
Because of the activity level of the New Madrid Seismic Zone, the United States Geological Survey considers Arkansas as a state with a High Earthquake Risk. Due to the general unpredictability of earthquakes, it is best to stress the importance of planning ahead.
By identifying potential hazards ahead of time, along with advance planning, homeowners and renters can reduce the dangers of serious injury or loss of life from an earthquake and minimize damage to their property. Furthermore, following local seismic building standards when remodeling or building a new home will help to reduce an earthquake's impact. Here are some basic suggestions to minimize damage to property during seismic events:
Check for Hazards in the Home
- Fasten shelves securely to walls.
- Place large or heavy objects on lower shelves.
- Store breakable items such as bottled foods, glass, and china in low, closed cabinets with latches.
- Hang heavy items such as pictures and mirrors away from beds, couches, and anywhere people sit.
- Brace overhead light fixtures.
- Repair defective electrical wiring and leaky gas connections. These are potential fire risks.
- Secure a water heater by strapping it to the wall studs and bolting it to the floor.
- Repair any deep cracks in ceilings or foundations. Get expert advice if there are signs of structural defects.
- Store weed killers, pesticides, and flammable products securely in closed cabinets with latches and on bottom shelves in an area outside the home's living space.
Additional Ways to Plan Ahead
- Identify Safe Places Indoors and Outdoors
- Educate Yourself and Family Members
- Have Disaster Supplies on Hand
- Develop an Emergency Communication Plan
Visit the FEMA website for more information on earthquakes and personal preparedness. FEMA's recently published, Are You Ready? A Guide to Citizen Preparedness contains a chapter on what to do before, during and after an earthquake. Copies are available through the FEMA Publications warehouse 1-800-480-2520. Ask for FEMA publication H-34. It is also available on FEMA's website at http://www.fema.gov/areyouready/
FEMA manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, works with state and local emergency managers, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.