ANCHORAGE (Nov. 30, 2018) - The Red Cross of Alaska is currently coordinating with city, state and emergency agencies and is mobilizing volunteers in response to the earthquake near Anchorage, Alaska on Friday, No-vember 30th.
The earthquake has caused significant damage to homes, buildings, roads and infrastructure throughout the en-tire area. Approximately 40,000 homes were without power throughout the day in the Mat-Su Valley and Anchor-age and a Declaration of Emergency has been established by the Governor of Alaska and the President.
The Red Cross of Alaska has opened and will be operating overnight emergency shelters in the following loca-tions:
• William A. Egan Civic & Convention Center
555 W 5th Ave, Anchorage, AK 99501
• Chugiak Senior Center
22424 Birchwood Loop Rd, Chugiak, AK 99567
• Curtis D. Menard Memorial Sports Center
1001 S Clapp St, Wasilla, AK 99654
At the Menard Sports Center in Wasilla, approximately 70 meals were served at lunch.
All in need of shelter are welcome. If people are able, here are some items to consider bringing:
• Children’s toys
• Emergency kit
In addition to sheltering, several corporate partners have agreed to significant financial and material assistance for those affected by the earthquake. Each disaster is unique and so are the needs of affected residents. Finan-cial donations are the quickest and best way to get help to the people who need it most. If you’d like to make a donation, please visit redcross.org/Alaska.
The main phone line in our Anchorage office is temporarily down. If people are experiencing an emergency, they should call 911. If they would like to get in touch with someone at the Red Cross, they can call our temporary disaster line at 907-310-3460. This line is being monitored and messages will be returned within 24 hours, if not sooner.
Some additional preparedness tips can be found below. Please continue to check Red Cross social media chan-nels for updates and additional information. People can also visit redcross.org/Alaska, download the free Red Cross emergency app by searching for ‘American Red Cross’ in their mobile phone app store, or by texting ‘GetEmergency’ to 90999.
Earthquake Preparedness and Safety
How to Prepare for an Earthquake
Protecting your family
• Talk about earthquakes with your family so that everyone knows what to do in case of an earthquake. Discussing ahead of time helps reduce fear, particularly for younger children.
• Check at your workplace and your children's schools and day care centers to learn about their earthquake emergency plans.
• Pick safe places in each room of your home, workplace and/or school. A safe place could be under a piece of furniture or against an interior wall away from windows, bookcases or tall furniture that could fall on you.
• Practice DROP, COVER and HOLD ON in each safe place.
• Keep a flashlight and any low-heeled shoes by each person’s bed.
• Make sure you have access to NOAA radio broadcasts:
o Find an online NOAA radio station
o Search for a NOAA radio app in the Apple Store >> or Google Play>>
o Purchase a battery-powered or hand-crank NOAA radio in the Red Cross Store
Protecting your pets & animals
• Prepare a pet emergency kit for your companion animals.
Protecting your home
• Bolt and brace water heaters and gas appliances to wall studs. Have a professional install flexible fittings to avoid gas or water leaks.
• Do not hang heavy items, such as pictures and mirrors, near beds, couches and anywhere people sleep or sit.
• Install strong latches or bolts on cabinets. Large or heavy items should be closest to the floor.
• Learn how to shut off the gas valves in your home and keep a wrench handy for that purpose.
• Place large and heavy objects and breakable items (bottled foods, glass or china) on lower shelves.
• Anchor overhead lighting fixtures to joists.
• Anchor top-heavy, tall and freestanding furniture such as bookcases, china cabinets to wall studs to keep these from toppling over.
• Ask about home repair and strengthening tips for exterior features, such as porches, decks, sliding glass doors, canopies, carports and garage doors.
• Learn about your area’s seismic building standards and land use codes before you begin new construc-tion.
• Have a professional make sure your home is securely anchored to its foundation, as well as strengthen-ing tips for exterior features, such as porches, decks, sliding glass doors, canopies, carports and garage doors.
During an Earthquake
Staying Safe Indoors
• DROP, COVER and HOLD ON!
o Move as little as possible - most injuries during earthquakes occur because of people moving around, falling and suffering sprains, fractures and head injuries.
o Try to protect your head and torso.
• If you are in bed, stay there, curl up and hold on, and cover your head.
• Stay indoors until the shaking stops and you are sure it is safe to exit.
• If you must leave a building after the shaking stops, use stairs rather than an elevator in case of after-shocks, power outages or other damage.
• Be aware that smoke alarms and sprinkler systems frequently go off in buildings during an earthquake, even if there is no fire.
• If you smell gas, get out of the house and move as far away as possible.
• Before you leave any building check to make sure that there is no debris from the building that could fall on you.
Staying Safe Outdoors
• Find a clear spot and drop to the ground. Stay there until the shaking stops.
• Try to get as far away from buildings, power lines, trees, and streetlights as possible.
• If you're in a vehicle, pull over to a clear location and stop. Avoid bridges, overpasses and power lines if possible.
o Stay inside with your seatbelt fastened until the shaking stops.
o After the shaking has stopped, drive on carefully, avoiding bridges and ramps that may have been damaged.
o If a power line falls on your vehicle, do not get out. Wait for assistance.
• If you are in a mountainous area or near unstable slopes or cliffs, be alert for falling rocks and other de-bris as well as landslides.
After an Earthquake
Staying Safe After an Earthquake
If you do nothing else:
• If away from home, return only when authorities say it is safe to do so.
• Check yourself for injuries and get first aid, if necessary, before helping injured or trapped persons.
• After an earthquake, the disaster may continue. Expect and prepare for potential aftershocks, landslides or even a tsunami if you live on a coast.
• Look for and extinguish small fires. Fire is the most common hazard after an earthquake.
• Each time you feel an aftershock, DROP, COVER and HOLD ON.
o Aftershocks frequently occur minutes, days, weeks and even months following an earthquake.
Caring for yourself & loved ones
• If you are at home, look quickly for damage in and around your home and get everyone out if your home is unsafe.
• Listen to a portable, battery ¬operated or hand¬crank radio for updated emergency information and instruc-tions.
• Pay attention to how you and your loved ones are experiencing and handling stress. Promote emotional recovery by following these tips.
• Watch animals closely and keep them under your direct control.
• Help people who require additional assistance—infants, elderly people, those without transportation, large families who may need additional help in an emergency situation, people with disabilities, and the people who care for them.
• Be careful when driving after an earthquake and anticipate traffic light outages.
Returning home safely
• Stay out of damaged buildings.
• Use extreme caution and examine walls, floors, doors, staircases and windows to check for damage.
• Watch out for fallen power lines or broken gas lines and report them to the utility company immediately.
• If you smell natural or propane gas or hear a hissing noise, leave immediately and call the fire depart-ment.
• Open closet and cabinet doors carefully as contents may have shifted.
• Follow these tips for inspecting your home’s structure and utilities & systems after an earthquake. Take pictures of home damage, both of the buildings and its contents, for insurance purposes.
Power Outage Safety
Staying Safe After a Power Outage
• If electrical power lines are down, don’t touch them. Keep your family and pets away. Report downed lines to your utility company.
Use a flashlight – not candles!
• Use a flashlight, do not use candles during a power outage due to extreme risk of fire.
Prevent Carbon Monoxide (CO) Poisoning
• Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning de-vice inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area.
• Keep these devices outdoors, away from doors, windows and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.
• Opening doors and windows or using fans will not prevent CO buildup in the home. Although CO can't be seen or smelled, it can rapidly lead to full incapacitation and death. Even if you cannot smell exhaust fumes, you may still be exposed to CO. If you start to feel sick, dizzy, or weak while using a generator, get to fresh air RIGHT AWAY - DO NOT DELAY.
• Install CO alarms in central locations on every level of your home and outside sleeping areas to provide early warning of accumulating carbon monoxide.
o Test the batteries frequently and replace when needed.
• If the carbon monoxide alarm sounds, move quickly to a fresh air location outdoors or by an open window or door.
o Call for help from the fresh air location and remain there until emergency personnel arrive to as-sist you.
• Read more about using generators safely.
Throw Out Unsafe Food
• Throw away any food (particularly meat, poultry, fish, eggs and leftovers) that has been exposed to tem-peratures higher than 40° F (4° C) for 2 hours or more, or that has an unusual odor, color or texture. When in doubt, throw it out!
• Never taste food or rely on appearance or odor to determine its safety. Some foods may look and smell fine, but if they have been at room temperature too long, bacteria causing food-borne illnesses can start growing quickly. Some types of bacteria produce toxins that cannot be destroyed by cooking.
• If you are not sure food is cold enough, take its temperature with a food thermometer.
• If food in the freezer is colder than 40° F and has ice crystals on it, you can refreeze it.
• Turn off and unplug all unnecessary electrical equipment, including sensitive electronics.
• Turn off or disconnect any appliances (like stoves), equipment or electronics you were using when the power went out. When power comes back on, surges or spikes can damage equipment.
• Leave one light turned on so you’ll know when the power comes back on.
About the American Red Cross of Alaska:
In FY18, the American Red Cross of Alaska offered food, shelter, comfort and hope to 892 Alaskans. We re-sponded to 308 disasters. Our preparedness/Health and Safety teams installed 2,309 smoke alarms statewide and educated 1,722 youth through The Pillowcase Project. Additionally, our Service to the Armed Forces staff exchanged 1,161 emergency messages for U.S. military service personnel and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of donors to provide aid to those that have been affected by disaster.