Thursday, March 11, 2010

Earthquake Preparation Family Home Evening Lesson: Include Drop, Cover and Hold On

Though I am not an expert on earthquake safety, I did recieve a letter from Kimberley Shoaf DrPH Associate Director, Center for Public Health and Disasters, encouraging me to promote the Drop, Cover, and Hold On safety procedure to prepare our families. Part of her letter: "Therefore, I would like to correct the thought that Drop, Cover and Hold On is just a recommendation for the US. After a great deal of research and experience in earthquakes both in the United States and other countries, scientists have come to recommend Drop, Cover and Hold on as the best known self-protective action that individuals can take to protect themselves during the shaking."

Last night I asked one of my daughters what she would do during an earthquake in the family room. She looked around and paused. "The doorway? Should I go there?" Then she looked around the room. I could tell she didn't want to go near the window, or under a picture frame. So she crouched on the floor and held onto a floor lamp. :-) Had to smile at that. However, she was the same daughter who dove under a table in a restaurant during an earthquake in California, while the rest of us sat there dazed and looked around at everthing swaying in the room.

Though she has some knowledge, I realized that my children are not prepared to react quickly in an earthquake and I have some work to do. When we lived in California earthquake preparedness was taught over and over again in the schools. Since moving to Utah I find it not being taught regularly in the schools here. Someone can correct me on that. Why? Because people don't feel the daily earthquakes happening here because they are so small. But we live on the Wasatch Fault! See USGS.

As parents, we need to take responsibility to teach Drop, Cover, and Hold On to our families on a consistent basis and one of the best ways to do this is to prepare several earthquake preparedness Family Home Evening Lessons. We should teach at the level that our children can understand. We don't want to frighten them so they can't sleep at night, but we need to take this seriously too. If our children are prepared, they shall not fear.

Watch this video to see what happened in a grocery store during the recent Haiti earthquake. I decided I don't want to be in a grocery store during an earthquake.

WARNING!! Do not teach the Triangle of Life to your children. It is incorrect! Do not circulate emails about it. Dr. Shoaf wrote: "The information you received about the "triangle of life" has been forwarded for many years. While it seems credible, it actually contains dangerous recommendations and is promoted by someone whose credibility has been broadly challenged as NOT being the expert he claims to be. As far as most experts in the field can tell, he is a fraud and focuses on taking videos of him "rescuing" people but only does it for the cameras. And his organization is mostly just him. There are legitimate Search and Rescue organizations and none work with him."

Teaching Resources:

1. FEMA Earthquake Safety for Children and Teachers.PDF Includes 4 lessons for children in kindergarten through 6th grade! Great for parents. Worksheets at the end.

2. Read some scriptures. "And there shall be earthquakes also in divers places, and many desolations." D&C 45:33. “Organize yourselves; prepare very needful thing…” D&C 88:119 "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." John 14:27. Or scriptures that help them not to be afraid.

3. Go to . Memorize the safety procedures. Practice them with your kids so when you shout "Okay! We're having an earthquake!" they will respond quickly and accurately. I've been practicing with my 5 year-old this week. She responds quickly.

4. Play this great online Beat the Quake Quiz and let your teen kids look for hazards in a room. Turn your computer sound on. I did not pass the quiz. My 13 year-old took it 3 times and didn't want any help. My 18 year-old did better than I did, but still lost. We've got some work to do.

Additional Resources for Adults and older children:
Preparing For An Earthquake Video Includes how to secure house, water heater refrigerator, T.V., cabinets, etc.

Surviving An Earthquake Video Learn what to do during an earthquake. If you are indoors, stay indoors and more advice.

After an Earthquake Video What to do if you are trapped, have to deal with gas leaks, communication, aftershocks, being self-sufficient, rationing food supply, etc.

Earthquake Terminology And Science Video. Learn terms like fault, Richter Scale, epicenter, foreshock, aftershock, etc.

Preparing Your Office for an Earthquake Video. This is helpful for the office and our homes because you can see how to prepare.


  1. I heard that it's bad to go under a desk during an earthquake. If the roof collapses it will crush the desk and anyone underneath. Look into something called the "triangle of life." It's really interesting.

  2. Sara: The Triangle of Life is NOT correct, and the man who circulated the email has also been disproven. It is important to do your own research, and not listen to emails that circulate about the triangle of life. Please see my post here.

  3. Oh I know, I just thought it was interesting. I never got the email, I just found it through random search after all this disaster that's been happening. Being prepared is very very important and knowing your stuff is a big part of it. I'm very happy you keep this blog. It gives me confidence in my own food storage and preparedness for the last days. Thank you for all that you do :)

  4. You are such an answer to my prayers. I have really felt the need to make sure our little family is earthquake prepared (living on the Wasatch fault!). Thanks for all of your research and time that you take to do this--it's awesome. I've been wanting to get things to keep our food storage from flying off the shelf, if that time ever came--thanks!

  5. Thank you for this! Great info--

    during FHE a couple of mondays ago, we talked to the girls about the need to be spiritually strong NOW because of the last days-

    I point blank asked rachel (who is almost 13), "Rachel, if there was a huge earthquake, and we all died but you-do you have enough spiritual strength to continue living?" Let me tell YOU -that got ALL of the girls' attention.

    We taught the girls that besides safety-there may come a time in her life where she is the only person she can depend on, and if she is not spiritual strong she will suffer.

    We talked to the girls about how their parents were spiritually strong before Jons accident and had we not been, we most likely wouldnt even be a family-so it's important and they have prime examples standing right infront of them!

    Anyway-just thought i'd share that with you!

  6. Thanks everyone for sharing. Now we have some work to do.


Thanks for your comments and suggestions!