On January 23, 2018, thousands of Alaskans were shaking in their beds when a 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck in the Gulf of Alaska. The earthquake triggered tsunami warnings, sending people to higher ground and shelters. Luckily, there were no reports of damage from the earthquake and the tsunami warning was cancelled without incident. However, cases like this are a reminder about the importance of preparedness, especially for Alaska’s seniors and people with limited mobility.
Here are some tips for staying safe during earthquakes:
Secure Your Home
- Anchor furniture and heavy objects.
- Tanks of gas, such as oxygen, should be secured to the wall with two straps and the area around them should remain clear. If punctured, pressure can be released and become deadly.
- Tighten loose ceiling fixtures and make sure beds and chairs are not underneath them.
- You can find additional information about earthquake safety with reduced mobility here.
- The Red Cross has additional information for seniors here.
Make Emergency Preparations
- Prepare an emergency kit that includes: a flashlight, blanket, water, batteries, prescription medication, medical supplies, food, important documents and more. Learn what should be in your kit.
- Subscribe to emergency alert services. Every community has an Emergency Alert Service (EAS) that will notify residents of important information in relation to disasters and threats to the area. You can often subscribe to these—and if you have a cell phone, they will send you text messages, or emails on your computer. You can also get weather alerts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA).
- Make sure you are familiar with your community’s emergency plan and communications procedures. Most cities or municipalities have these plans available online. For Anchorage, visit the Emergency Management.
- Identify local and distance emergency contacts. Your local emergency contact should have a key to your residence. Having someone out of state may be easier to get a hold during the emergency.
- Program your emergency contacts into your phone under “ICE”—In Case of Emergency, this will allow other people to contact the right people for you in case you can’t do it yourself.
- Learn more about emergency communication.
- If your home is properly prepared, stay where you are and you should be safe.
- People in wheelchairs should move to the center of the room, away from falling objects, and cover their head with their arms.
- For people with canes or walkers, sit on the floor and cover your head.
Subscribe to Philips Lifeline
If you’re a senior or someone with limited mobility, consider a Philips Lifeline subscription. Philips Lifeline is the number one medical alert device in the country. During an emergency, with Lifeline you will be able to call for help immediately, even if your cellphone doesn’t work or you become trapped.
Midnight Sun Home Care is always here to help and provide Anchorage AK care for seniors. We can help you prepare your home and subscribe you or your loved ones to life-saving services. Please give us a call today (907) 677-7890.