Lasts Thursday, July 7, Montana was hit with the strongest earthquake in 12 years.

I lived most of my life in California, and experienced bigger shakes. In one, our house was damaged, I watched some homes burn and people died. At that moment we - rich, poor, famous - were all equal. I lived up the block from Michael Jackson and the Jackson family and they were in the same situation as we were. Everyone was outside and we finally met our neighbors.

We had the police and we paid for a special police force for protection. But I realized no one would come to help if we needed it. No power, and to get food, people were lined up outside Gelsons and Ralphs food stores. With no power, the computers that ran the cash registers didn't work. Forget about ATMs.

Luckily, I had a pool, so living without running water wasn't that bad for us. When you experience a large earthquake like that, everyone was sleeping outside for the next few days until things got back to normal.

I was also happy I owned a gun because we were alone, helpless if someone wanted to rob us.

For some reason I never thought to even ask about earthquakes here in Montana. I am not ready if a big one hits us, so Thursday's quake was a warning and wake up call.

Monday on Dominick In The Morning, I talked with the Mike Blasky from the AAA which has a program to advise the people of Montana what we need to get ready for a quake.

AAA Earthquake Safety Tips

Conduct family drills. Make sure everyone knows which areas in a room are the safest. This may be underneath a table or against a wall. Stay away from windows, fireplaces and tall furniture. Practice “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” to reduce your chance of injury. This means drop where you are onto your hands and knees, cover your head and neck with one arm and hand, and hold on to shelter, if possible, until the shaking stops.

Place emergency kits in your home and car. Kits should include water, nonperishable food, battery operated radio, flashlight, extra batteries, first-aid kit, prescription medication, wrench or pliers to turn off utilities, sanitary supplies and pet food and supplies.

Know how to shut off your home’s gas, water and electricity. You should also make sure your water heater is securely fastened to a wall or post with two metal straps. You can secure a water heater up to 50 gallons in capacity.

Quake safe your home. Secure items that could fall and cause injuries in an earthquake, like bookshelves, mirrors and televisions. Consider installing childproof latches or adhesives on cabinet doors to prevent them from opening in an earthquake.

Check your insurance for earthquake coverage. Make sure you’re covered if disaster strikes. Most homeowners policies do not cover damage resulting from an earthquake, and in most cases a separate earthquake endorsement or policy is needed.

I am going to make sure I am ready for a big one here in Montana. I was also surprised to find out that the AAA Montana was a big advocate for earthquake preparedness. I just thought they were the people you call when you need a tow.

They have a link to a goofy game about earthquake safety. I don't know, maybe you will enjoy it... AAA’s Road to Ready game



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