Earthquake Preparation
Are you prepared in the event of an earthquake?

A little knowledge and a few safety measures can greatly increase your chances of survival during an earthquake. The keys are education and advanced preparation. These safety tips could make a life-saving difference if you find yourself in an earthquake situation.

Before the Earthquake:
  • Teach all members of your family about earthquake safety. This includes
    1. The actions you should take when an earthquake occurs.
    2. The safest places in a room (under a strong desk, along interior walls).
    3. Places to avoid (windows, large mirrors, hanging objects, heavy furniture and fireplaces).
  • Stock up on emergency supplies. These include: a battery operated radio (and extra batteries), flashlights (and extra batteries), first aid kit, bottled water, two weeks of food and medical supplies, blankets, cooking fuel, tools needed to turn off your gas, water and electric utilities.
  • Arrange your home for safety. Store heavy objects on lower shelves and store breakable objects in cabinets with latched doors. Do not hang heavy mirrors or pictures above where people frequently sit or sleep.
  • Anchor heavy appliances and furniture such as water heaters, refrigerators and bookcases.
  • Store flammable liquids away from potential ignition sources such as water heaters, stoves and furnaces.
  • Learn where the main turn-off valves are for your water, gas and electricity. Know how to turn them off and the location of any needed tools.
During the Earthquake:
  • If you are indoors, stay there. Crouch in an inside corner of the building and cover your face and head with your arms. The goal is to protect yourself from falling objects and be located near the structural strong points of the room.
  • Use a doorway for shelter only if it is in close proximity to you and if you know it is a strongly supported.
  • DO NOT use the elevators.
  • Turn off any appliances you are using and take cover.
  • If you are outdoors, move to an open area where falling objects are unlikely to strike you. Move away from buildings, power lines, and trees.
  • If you are driving, slow down smoothly and stop on the side of the road. Avoid stopping on or under bridges and overpasses, or under power lines, trees and large signs. Stay in your car.
After the Earthquake:
  • Check for injuries. Attend to injuries if needed, help ensure the safety of people around you.
  • Check for damage. If your building is badly damaged you should leave it until it has been inspected by a safety professional.
  • If you smell or hear a gas leak, get everyone outside and open windows and doors. If you can do it safely, turn off the gas at the meter. Report the leak to the gas company and fire department.
  • If the power is out, unplug major appliances to prevent possible damage when the power is turned back on. If you see sparks, frayed wires, or smell hot insulation turn off electricity at the main fuse box or breaker.
If Trapped under Debris
  • Do not light a match.
  • Do not move about or kick up dust.
  • Cover your mouth with a handkerchief or clothing.
  • Tap on a pipe or wall so rescuers can locate you. Shouting can cause you to inhale dangerous amounts of dust.