Earthquake Disaster Preparedness

Before an earthquake

  • Prepare an emergency kit.
  • Fasten shelves securely; place large or heavy objects on lower shelves.
  • Heavy wall items should be attached securely and away from beds, couches, or anywhere people might be underneath.
  • Brace overhead light fixtures and top-heavy lamps.
  • Have defective electrical wiring and leaky gas connections repaired by a qualified professional.
  • Secure your water heater, refrigerator, furnace, and gas appliances with strapping or bolting. If recommended by your gas company, have an automatic vibration shut-off valve installed.
  • Repair any existing cracks in the ceiling or foundation; check often for structural defects.
  • Store your weed killers, pesticides, and flammable products on bottom shelves in closed cabinets with a latch.
  • Hold family earthquake drills and review your family communications plan.

During an earthquake

  • No matter where you are, DROP, COVER and HOLD ON!
  • Move as little as possible - most injuries during earthquakes occur because of people moving around and falling.
  • Stay indoors until the shaking stops and you are sure it is safe to exit.
  • 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.
  • If you must leave a building, wait until the shaking stops. Use the stairs rather than an elevator in case of aftershocks, power outages or other damage.
  • Before you leave any building, check to make sure that there is no debris from the building that could fall on you.

If you are outside during an earthquake:

  • 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.
  • Stay inside your vehicle with your seat belt fastened until the shaking stops.
  • 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, watch for falling rocks and landslides.