Earthquakes strike with very little warning to the general public. Their intensity ranges from ones that most people barely notice all the way up to ones that cause catastrophic damage and even loss of life. Knowing what to do in an earthquake and the time after can be life saving information.
If you live in an earthquake active area, emergency preparedness must become a way of life. It is important to know how to take care of yourself and your loved ones in the event of an earthquake. Major earthquakes disrupt everything including freeways, surface streets, electrical service, water service, phone service and most other public services, sometimes for extended periods of time.
Use the following earthquake safety tips for what to do during an earthquake.
DURING THE EARTHQUAKE:
If you sense an earthquake TAKE COVER get under a desk or sturdy table. STAY COVERED until the shaking stops. STAY AWAY FROM bookcases, files, windows, heavy mirrors, chandeliers or anything that can fall.
If you are in a High-Rise Building and not near a desk or table, get against an interior wall and protect your head with your arms. Do not use the elevators. Stay indoors!
If you are in a Kitchen, move away from the refrigerator, stove and overhead cabinets.
If you are Outdoors, move to an open area away from signs, buildings and trees.
If you are Driving, pull over and stop. Avoid overpasses, power lines and other hazards. Stay inside your vehicle until the shaking is over.
If you are in a Public Place, do not rush to the exits, find a desk, table or other shelter and stay clear of objects that could fall.
If you are in a Wheel Chair, stay in it, move to cover if possible and protect your head with your arms.
If you are in a Stadium or Theater, stay in your seat, protect your head with your arms and do not leave until the shaking has stopped.
AFTER AN EARTHQUAKE:
Expect aftershocks and plan where you will go if they start. An aftershocks are additional earthquakes that happens after the first earthquake. While most aftershocks are smaller, if an aftershock is larger than the original earthquake then it is deemed the main earthquake.
Earthquakes can also trigger other catastrophic events such as tsunamis, flooding, fires, and landslides. So when the shaking stops, the dangers may not be over.
- Look for anyone that might be injured and apply first aid or request medical assistance.
- Keep your cool and assure others that everything will be okay.
- Avoid debris on the ground including sharp objects and broken glass.
- Check water, gas and electric lines and keep an eye open for fires.
- Shut off services. If gas is leaking do not light matches, use flashlights or appliances. Open windows, report the leak and leave the building.
- Stay out of damaged buildings.
PLANNING AHEAD FOR EARTHQUAKES:
Making a plan and preparing for an earthquake can make the difference between surviving it and not. The time to get prepared for one is before one happens. Here are some tips on how to effectively prepare for an earthquake.
• Develop a family earthquake plan so everyone knows what to do.
• Discuss with your family the safe spots to take cover at in each room.
• Discuss the danger areas of your home (windows, mirrors, hanging objects, fireplaces and tall objects).
• Run practice earthquake drills.
• Take First Aid and CPR classes (Red Cross
or American Heart Association
• Select a safe meeting place for your family if separated.
• Place a list of emergency contact numbers in a obvious location.
• Choose an out-of-state friend or family member that you can contact after earthquakes to report your family's condition.
• Learn how to shut off your gas, water and electricity in case you need to.
• Secure water heaters and appliances.
• Keep heavy and fragile items on lower shelves.
• Put secure latches on cabinet doors to keep them from opening.
EARTHQUAKE EMERGENCY SUPPLY LIST:
In addition to a comprehensive earthquake plan, you should also have survival supplies to ensure your full preparedness. Here is a list of supplies that could be life saving during and after an earthquake.
Water - enough for each person for a few days
Food - non-perishable items that are easy to prepare or do not require cooking
Flashlight - be sure to periodically check your batteries
Multi-tool - it is amazing how useful these can be in an emergency situation
First Aid Kit - can help with minor injuries and cuts, a must have.
Medications - having a supply of your personal medications is crucial
Survival Blankets - these are great for both cold and hot conditions
Radio - a hand cranked/solar radio so you can listen to emergency announcements
Duct Tape - amazingly useful in many emergency situations
Whistle - can help you be heard by rescuers
Can Opener - to help you open your non-perishable food items
Portable Chargers - to recharge your electronic in case of power outages
Pet Supplies - don't forget about your fury friends, prepare for them as well
EARTHQUAKE EMERGENCY KITS
A survival kit is a great way to jump start your preparations for an earthquake. We have researched, sourced, and tested many kits over the years, and these are some of our favorites. They can help in an emergency situation after an earthquake. We suggest that you add personal items and supplemental items to the kits to make them perfect for you and your family.
64 Piece Survival Kit with Food & Water
For more resources take a look at our Basic Emergency Preparedness Guide.