Earthquake Preparedness Certain regions of North America are more prone to earthquakes then others. You should check with your local emergency resource centers to determine the likelihood of your community being faced with earthquakes. Unlike many other disasters, earthquakes create some additional situations that require special preparation. These situations include failing debris, partial or full collapse of structures, ruptured gas lines and other eventualities. Like many, you may want to add earthquake-specific items to your 72-hour survival kits. Before highlighting these, we’d like to first share some basic earthquake preparedness information.
Prepare a Home Earthquake Plan
- Choose a safe place in every room—under a sturdy table or desk or against an inside wall where nothing can fall on you.
- Practice “DROP, COVER & HOLD ON” at least twice a year. Drop under a sturdy desk or table, hold on, and protect your eyes by pressing your face against your arm. If there's no table or desk nearby, sit on the floor against an interior wall away from windows, bookcases, or tall furniture that could fall on you. Teach children to DROP, COVER & HOLD ON!
- Choose an out-of-town family contact.
- Consult a professional to find out additional ways you can protect your home, such as bolting the house to its foundation or other structural mitigation techniques.
- Take a first aid class from your local Red Cross chapter. Keep your training current.
- Get training in how to use fire extinguishers from your local fire department.
- Inform baby sitters and care givers of your plan.
Eliminate Hazards, Including:
- Bolting bookcases, china cabinets, and other tall furniture to wall studs.
- Installing strong latches on cupboards.
- Strapping your water heater to wall studs.
Prepare a Disaster Supplies Kit for Your Home & Car, Including:
- First aid kit and essential medications.
- Canned food and can opener.
- At least three gallons of water per person.
- Protective clothing, rainwear, and bedding or sleeping bags.
- Battery-powered radio, flashlight, and extra batteries.
- Special items for infant, elderly, or disabled family members.
- Written instructions for how to turn off gas, electricity, and water if authorities advise you to do so. (Remember, you'll need a professional to turn natural gas service back on.)
- Keeping essentials, such as a flashlight and sturdy shoes, by your bedside (Sample List).
Know What to Do When the Shaking Begins
- DROP, COVER & HOLD ON! Move only a few steps to a nearby safe place. Stay indoors until the shaking stops and you're sure it's safe to exit. Stay away from windows. In a high-rise building, expect the fire alarms and sprinklers to go off during a quake.
- If you are in bed, hold on and stay there, protecting your head with a pillow.
- If you are outdoors, find a clear spot away from buildings, trees, and power lines. Drop to the ground.
- If you are in a car, slow down and drive to a clear place (as described above). Stay in the car until the shaking stops.
Identify What to Do After the Shaking Stops
- Check yourself for injuries. Protect yourself from further danger by putting on long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, sturdy shoes, and work gloves.
- Check others for injuries. Give first aid for serious injuries.
- Look for and extinguish small fires. Eliminate fire hazards. Turn off the gas if you smell gas or think its leaking. (Remember, only a professional should turn it back on.)
- Listen to the radio for instructions.
- Expect after shocks. Each time you feel one, DROP, COVER & HOLD ON!
- Inspect your home for damage. Get everyone out if your home is unsafe.
- Use the telephone only to report life-threatening emergencies.