You are here: Home > Earthquake Preparation Guide

Earthquake Preparedness

Prepare for an earthquake today with our earthquake preparedness planning guide. Learn what to do before an earthquake such as having the right earthquake kits and supplies. It also provides tips for what to do during and after an earthquake as well.

Earthquake Preparedness Guide

What To Do Before An Earthquake

Learn About Earthquakes

One of the most frightening and destructive phenomena of nature is a severe earthquake and its terrible after effects. Earthquakes strike suddenly, violently, and without warning at any time of the day or night. If an earthquake occurs in a populated area, it may cause many deaths and injuries and extensive property damage.

Although there are no guarantees of safety during an earthquake, identifying potential hazards ahead of time and advance planning can save lives and significantly reduce injuries and property damage.

Familiarize yourself with these terms to help identify an earthquake hazard:

Aftershock: An earthquake of similar or lesser intensity that follows the main earthquake.

Earthquake: A sudden slipping or movement of a portion of the earth’s crust, accompanied and followed by a series of vibrations.

Epicenter: The place on the earth’s surface directly above the point on the fault where the earthquake rupture began. Once fault slippage begins, it expands along the fault during the earthquake and can extend hundreds of miles before stopping.

Fault: The fracture across which displacement has occurred during an earthquake. The slippage may range from less than an inch to more than 10 yards in a severe earthquake.

Magnitude: The amount of energy released during an earthquake, which is computed from the amplitude of the seismic waves. A magnitude of 7.0 on the Richter Scale indicates an extremely strong earthquake. Each whole number on the scale represents an increase of about 30 times more energy released than the previous whole number represents. Therefore, an earthquake measuring 6.0 is about 30 times more powerful than one measuring 5.0.

Seismic Waves: Vibrations that travel outward from the earthquake fault at speeds of several miles per second. Although fault slippage directly under a structure can cause considerable damage, the vibrations of seismic waves cause most of the destruction during earthquakes.

Home Earthquake Kits and Supplies

Home Earthquake Kit

Our 4 Person Home Earthquake Survival Kit supports 4 people for 3 days. It includes all the critical emergency food, water, shelter, sanitation, first aid, lighting, and communication supplies necessary for surviving a major earthquake. After which, stores will be closed! Running water and electricity will be unavailable! Your home may be unsafe to occupy! You need to be self-sufficient. Get all the earthquake supplies you need in one complete kit.

Earthquake Accessory Kits

We also recommend the Earthquake Kit, which has been specially designed to enhance the above Home kit to help your family prepare for the inevitable earthquake that faces many regions of North America and beyond. This earthquake kit contains seismic fastening supplies to secure your household items for the seismic forces of an earthquake. This way you avoid dangerous debris such as broken glass and save your precious items. This earthquake kit also contains a Emergency Power-Failure-Light which automatically creates emergency light after the power goes out following an earthquake.

Hygiene Accessory Kit

Another recommended kit we provide for your family is our Family Hygiene Kit. It includes the necessary sanitation and hygiene your family would need following a major earthquake. Remember, at that time, there will probably be a severe shortage of water. These earthquake supplies allow you to remain hygienic following an earthquake without the need for running water. Remember, it is important to avoid spreading or being exposed to dangerous bacteria during a time of already great emergency.

Pet Survival Kits and Supplies

And don't forget about your pets they will have needs too after an earthquake. They will be hungry, thirsty, and potentially in danger just like you. That is why we have developed Pet Survival Kits which contain specially manufactured emergency pet food and water along with many other earthquake supplies which could save the your furry friends.

Emergency Food Supplies

After a large earthquake, stores may be closed for several weeks in your area and roads may be unsafe to drive out of your area. That is why you must have a supply of emergency food in your earthquake kit. You should have a minimum of a three-day supply per person but a supply of at least a week is recommended. Many people try making their own home earthquake kit but they often don't realize that store bought food such as canned food only has a 6 month shelf-life. Emergency foodThat is why each of our survival kits come with ER Bars - US Coast Guard Approved, 5-year shelf-life, 3-day supply emergency food ration bars. With a non-thirst provoking formula and a perfect balance of quality ingredients, it is specifically designed for disaster victims. Vacuum sealed and specially packaged, the ER Bar has surpassed rigorous testing procedures and quality standards in order to be a US Coast Guard Approved 5-Year Shelf-Life Emergency Food Ration.

Emergency Water

Second to air, water is the most primary element to human survival. You must consider the fact that running water may be either unsafe to drink or simply unavailable after an earthquake. Just keeping bottled water at home is not enough. Despite popular myth, bottled water only has a 6 month shelf-life; even less if stored in extreme temperatures. It is recommended that at a minimum you have a 3 day supply of drinking water per person in your earthquake preparedness kit. However, a survival rule of thumb is that you have a gallon of emergency water per person because you will also need it for sanitation purposes. Each of our survival kits come with Aqua Blox - US Coast Guard Approved, 5-year shelf-life, 3-day supply of emergency water rations. Since water remains the most important earthquake preparedness item to have, each home survival kit also comes with water purification tablets which can be used along with the 5 gallon container to purify extra water. The additional purchase of extra emergency water for inclusion within your earthquake kit is recommended as our survival kits include only a minimum survival supply. The best and cheapest way to store a sufficient amount of emergency water for an entire family is to purchase one of our 55 gallon water storage barrel and accessories.

Emergency Lighting and Communication

As electricity may be out for several weeks after an earthquake, you will need emergency lights to navigate through the dark and safely get out of your home in order to travel to a safe location. Each of our Home Survival Kits come with a variety of essential emergency lights. You will also need a an emergency radio to know where a safe place is to travel. Many people store regular battery-operated flashlights and radios in their earthquake preparedness kit but don't realize that batteries have a shelf-life of 6 months. Our deluxe home survival kits come equipped with an am/fm solar and hand crank radio with lantern light which never needs batteries and 12 hour emergency lightsticks which have a 5-year shelf-life. All home kits also come with slow-burning emergency candles and waterproof matches for extra long-lasting light. We also recommend the inclusion of a fluorescent lantern for additional lighting capabilities. Don't forget batteries...save yourself money and trouble in replacing batteries by purchasing our Code Red Batteries that have an amazing 20-year shelf life.

Emergency Search and Rescue Supplies

After an earthquake, there will likely be broken glass and dangerous items that you will have to deal with when evacuating your home or helping others evacuate. Collapsed structures could trap families in their homes. That is why your home earthquake kit must include the proper emergency search and rescue supplies for your home. Emergency search and rescue suppliesOne very important item, especially for earthquake preparedness, which can save your home and neighborhood is an emergency gas shut-off wrench. An emergency gas shut-off wrench is included in each of our home survival kits. Other important search and rescue supplies for your home earthquake preparedness include a fire escape ladder and tools for setting up camp or shelter. Each home survival kit includes a swiss army knife, vinyl rope and duct tape, leather-palmed work gloves, vinyl gloves, and dust masks for protection from dangerous debris.

Car Earthquake Kits and Supplies

Car Earthquake Kit

Our 4 Person Deluxe Car Survival Kit supports 4 people for 3 days. It includes all the emergency food, water, shelter, first aid, lighting, and communication supplies necessary for surviving after a major earthquake. Remember, after an earthquake, stores will be closed! Roads will be down! And you may have to get out of your car and travel great distances by foot to get to a safe or familiar location. You need to be self-sufficient. Also learn how you can customize your car emergency kit to meet your personal survival needs.

Emergency Food Supplies

After a large earthquake, stores may be closed for several weeks in your area and roads may be unsafe to drive out of your area. That is why you must have a supply of emergency food in your earthquake kit. You should have a minimum of a three-day supply per person but a supply of at least a week is recommended. Many people try making their own home earthquake kit but they often don't realize that store bought food such as canned food only has a 6 month shelf-life. Emergency foodThat is why each of our survival kits come with ER Bars - US Coast Guard Approved, 5-year shelf-life, 3-day supply emergency food ration bars. With a non-thirst provoking formula and a perfect balance of quality ingredients, it is specifically designed for disaster victims. Vacuum sealed and specially packaged, the ER Bar has surpassed rigorous testing procedures and quality standards in order to be a US Coast Guard Approved 5-Year Shelf-Life Emergency Food Ration.

Emergency Water

Second to air, water is the most primary element to human survival. You must consider the fact that running water may be either unsafe to drink or simply unavailable after an earthquake. Just keeping bottled water at home is not enough. Despite popular myth, bottled water only has a 6 month shelf-life; even less if stored in extreme temperatures. It is recommended that at a minimum you have a 3 day supply of drinking water per person in your earthquake preparedness kit. However, a survival rule of thumb is that you have a gallon of emergency water per person because you will also need it for sanitation purposes. Each of our survival kits come with Aqua Blox - US Coast Guard Approved, 5-year shelf-life, 3-day supply of emergency water rations. Since water remains the most important earthquake preparedness item to have, each home survival kit also comes with water purification tablets which can be used along with the 5 gallon container to purify extra water. The additional purchase of extra emergency water for inclusion within your earthquake kit is recommended as our survival kits include only a minimum survival supply. The best and cheapest way to store a sufficient amount of emergency water for an entire family is to purchase one of our 55 gallon water storage barrel and accessories.

Emergency Shelter Supplies

If you get stuck in your car or have to travel by foot in the cold, you will need proper emergency shelter supplies. That is why you need emergency shelter supplies in your car emergency preparedness kit. Each of our car survival kits come with the proper shelter supplies including emergency thermal blankets for warmth, ponchos to protect you from the weather, and a tube tent for easy emergency shelter from the elements. Additional recommended emergency home shelter supplies include body warmer pads.

Office Earthquake Preparedness

Office Earthquake Survival Kits

Our 5 Person Office Earthquake Survival Kit supports 5 people for 3 days. It includes all the emergency food, water, shelter, first aid, lighting, and communication supplies necessary for surviving at work after a major earthquake. Remember, after an earthquake, stores will be closed! Roads will be down! Your office buildings will be unsafe to occupy! This means that employees may be stuck at work for days if not weeks. Your business has the obligation to ensure that it has adequate earthquake supplies for all of its employees. Our 1 Person Office Earthquake Survival Kit supports 1 person for 3 days.

Emergency Food

It is the responsibility of management to ensure that the workplace has at least a 3 day supply of emergency food for each employee. This food should not require any cooking or preparation and should be non-thirst provoking. That is why our office earthquake kits come with ER Bars - US Coast Guard Approved, 5-year shelf-life, 3-day supply emergency food rations. A 3 day supply is the minimum survival recommendation as a week supply of emergency food per employee is recommended.

Emergency Water

Your office should also keep a minimum of a 3 day supply ofemergency waterper employee. But don't waste company money storing bottled water when it only stores safely for 6 months. Our office earthquake kits come with Aqua Blox- 3 day supply of emergency drinking water which is US Coast guard approved to store safely for 5 years. However, it is also important to remember that ideally you should have a gallon of water per employee for earthquake preparedness because running water will likely be unavailable or unsafe. The cheapest and easiest way to prepare to have enough water for drinking and sanitation is to have water purification and storage supplies such as water purification tablets and 55 gallon water storage barrels.

Emergency Shelter Supplies

There is a possibility that your office building(s) may be unsafe to occupy after a major earthquake. Because employees mat be forced to stay overnight and outside at work for several days if not weeks, our earthquake preparedness kits also come with the emergency shelter supplies to protect employees from the elements. These supplies include emergency thermal blankets and emergency rain ponchoswhich offer protection from harsh weather conditions. Additional recommended emergency office shelter supplies to help protect workers from extreme weather include awhich offer protection from harsh weather conditions. Additional recommended emergency office shelter supplies to help protect workers from extreme weather include a canopy shelter ,body warmer pads , and tube tents.

Emergency Lights

Your office will likely be without electricity after an earthquake which is why you need emergency lights to help employees navigate around dangerous debris in the dark. Don't waste your company's money storing regular battery-powered flashlights and batteries for an earthquake because regular batteries have a shelf-life of only 6 months and last only hours. Our deluxe office earthquake survival kits come equipped with an am/fm solar and hand crank radio with lantern light which never needs batteries and 12 hour emergency lightstickswhich have a 5-year shelf-life. Office preparedness kit also come with emergency flashlights with Code Red Batteries that have an amazing 20-year shelf life.

Emergency Radios

In the event of an earthquake while employees are at work, there is a chance that everyone will have to evacuate the office building and travel to a safe location. Because electricity will likely also be out, emergency coordinators need to have emergency radiosfor listening to emergency broadcasts in order to know where to go for safety. Due to the limitations of battery use, we recommend the am/fm solar and hand crank radio with lantern lightwhich never needs batteries! Regular battery last for hours and have an extremely limited shelf-life of around only 6 months.

Emergency First Aid Kits

After a major earthquake while employees are work, many may become injured as they evacuate the building or campus due to dangerous debris. That is why businesses need to keep comprehensive emergency first aid kits that can easily be mobilized to safety. We recommend the Trauma Central Supply Kit which contains the appropriate supplies to treat up to 75 people for injuries and is ideally suited for school emergency preparedness.

Emergency Search and Rescue Supplies

There will likely be dangerous amounts of broken glass and other debris that could trap employees and cause injuries to others trying to help rescue them. That is why your office needs to keep emergency search and rescue supplies as part of its emergency preparedness plan. Our office emergency preparedness kits come with leather-palmed work gloves, vinyl gloves, and dust masksfor protection from dangerous debris. We also highly recommend the additional purchase of our emergency search and rescue kit which comes with such life-saving equipment as OSHA approved hard hats, safety goggles, emergency rescue pry/crow bars, and much more.

Emergency Sanitation Supplies

It's not a pleasant thought, but your office's plumbing will likely be unavailable after a major disaster and employees may be sharing shelter outdoors. Because it is important to avoid employees getting sick during a time of disaster, your office needs to have emergency sanitation supplies to maintain sanitary conditions. Our office emergency preparedness kits packaged in 5 gallon containers are designed to be used for emergency sanitation. They also include the necessary toilet bags, toilet chemicals, toilet seat cover and lid, and tissue packs for each employee.

School Earthquake Preparedness

School Earthquake Survival Kits

Our Classroom Safety Backpack Earthquake Survival Kit is recommended for each classroom as it contains all the emergency food, water, shelter, first aid, lighting, and communication supplies necessary for school earthquake preparedness. Your school has the obligation to ensure that students have adequate earthquake supplies and this school earthquake survival kit is a great way to protect each of your students classrooms. Our Economy Student Earthquake Survival Kit supports 1 person for 3 days.

Emergency Food

It is the responsibility of management to ensure that their school has at least a 3 day supply of emergency food for each student. This food should not require any cooking or preparation and should be non-thirst provoking. That is why our school earthquake preparedness kits come with ER Bars - US Coast Guard Approved, 5-year shelf-life, 3-day supply emergency food rations. A 3 day supply is the minimum survival recommendation as a week supply of emergency food per student is recommended.

Emergency Water

Your school should also keep a minimum of a 3 day supply of emergency waterper employee. But don't waste school money storing bottled water when it only stores safely for 6 months. Our school earthquake kits come with Aqua Blox- 3 day supply of emergency drinking water which is US Coast guard approved to store safely for 5 years. However, it is also important to remember that ideally you should have a gallon of water per employee for earthquake preparedness because running water will likely be unavailable or unsafe. The cheapest and easiest way to prepare to have enough water for drinking and sanitation is to have water purification and storage supplies such as water purification tablets and 55 gallon water storage barrels.

Emergency Shelter Supplies

There is a possibility that your school building(s) may be unsafe to occupy after a major earhquake. Because students and faculty mat be forced to stay overnight and outside at school for several days if not weeks, our earthquake survival kits also come with the emergency shelter supplies to protect student from the elements. These supplies include emergency thermal blankets and emergency rain ponchoswhich offer protection from harsh weather conditions. Additional recommended emergency school shelter supplies to help protect students and faculty from extreme weather include a canopy shelter ,body warmer pads , and tube tents.

Emergency Lights

After an earthquake, your students may be stuck at school without any electricity. This can obviously be a dangerous situation in and of itself. When you add dangerous debris lurking in the dark, you can quickly realize why it is so important to have emergency lights for you students at school. Storing a few flashlights and batteries in your school's earthquake preparedness kit is not enough. Batteries have limitations such as their limited shelf-life and the fact they only last a few hours. That is why we recommend that each classroom has at least one am/fm solar and hand crank radio with lantern light which never needs batteries and 12 hour emergency lightsticks which have a 5-year shelf-life. We also recommend each classroom stores a a fluorescent lantern for additional lighting capabilities.

Emergency Radios

In the event of an earthquake while students are in school, there is a chance that the faculty and students will have to evacuate the school and travel to a safe location. Because electricity will likely be out, the faculty members need to have emergency radios for listening to emergency broadcasts in order to know where to go for safety. Due to the limitations of battery use, we recommend the am/fm solar and hand crank radio with lantern light which never needs batteries! Regular battery operated emergency radios have many limitations because the batteries only last for hours and have an extremely limited shelf-life of around only 6 months.

Emergency First Aid Kits

In the event of a major earthquake at school, many students may become injured as they evacuate the building or campus due to the amount of dangerous debris. That is why schools need to keep comprehensive emergency first aid kits that can easily be mobilized to safety. We recommend the Trauma Central Supply Kit which contains the appropriate supplies to treat up to 75 people for injuries and is ideally suited for school emergency preparedness.

Emergency Search and Rescue Supplies

Collapsed structures such as your school's buildings could trap students inside if the building suffers damage during an earthquake. There will also likely be broken glass and dangerous debris that you will have to deal with when evacuating students to a safe area. That is why your school need to have earthquake preparedness kits in each classroom that include the appropriate emergency search and rescue supplies. These kits should include an emergency pry/crow bar to open jammed windows and doors following structural damages to buildings. For setting up camp or shelter for evacuated students, kits should also include vinyl rope and duct tape. School emergency preparedness kits should also contain leather-palmed work gloves, vinyl gloves, and dust masks for protection from dangerous debris.

Emergency Sanitation Supplies

Your school must consider the fact that plumbing will likely be unavailable after a major earthquake. Schools need to have the proper emergency sanitation suppliesfor maintaining proper sanitary health conditions. Remember that students and faculty may be forced to stay outdoors in close proximity to one another. That is why for each classroom we recommend having a bucket-style portable toilet or portable folding toilet with sanitation accessory such as toilet bags, toilet chemicals and tissue packs

Earthquake Risk Reduction

Earthquake Risk Reduction Services

To assist those who live in California with their earthquake fastening needs, we advise that they Contact Secure-It a General Contracting Firm (fully licensed & bonded) that provides seismic consultation and services. To contact Secure-it call 1-805-522-3333 or you can visit their web site at www.secureitconsultants.com. Ask the experts! Have it done right the first time!

Earthquake Risk Reduction for the Home

In California we are counseled by the experts not to run outside our buildings during an earthquake. This is because we are not as likely to see total structural failure as in other countries. Our wood frame homes generally do very well in earthquakes. Strict building codes reduce the risk of structural failure in our modern (post 1933) masonry buildings. Our greatest risk of injury during an earthquake is from nonstructural hazards. Falling decorative pieces, fixtures, and heavy furniture account for a large percentage of the injuries. Nonstructural hazard mitigation is one of the least expensive ways to decrease the incidence of injury. Please follow our earthquake risk reduction guide for your home which contains identified hazards and some suggested solutions.

Home Earthquake Risk Reduction

Earthquakes strike suddenly, violently and without warning. Identifying potential hazards ahead of time and advance planning can reduce the dangers of serious injury or loss of life from an earthquake. Repairing deep plaster cracks in ceilings and foundations, anchoring overhead lighting fixtures to the ceiling, and following local seismic building standards, will help reduce the impact of earthquakes.

  • Secure your hot water heater
  • Secure household items and furniture
  • Check chimneys, roofs and wall foundations for stability. Note: If your home was built before 1935, make sure your house is bolted to its foundation. If your home is on a raised foundation, make sure the cripple walls have been made into shear walls. Call a licensed contractor if you have any questions.
  • Keep breakable and heavy objects on lower shelves. Put latches on cabinet doors to keep them closed during shaking.
  • Fasten shelves securely to walls.
  • Place large or heavy objects on lower shelves.
  • Store breakable items such as bottled foods, glass, and china in low, closed cabinets with latches.
  • Hang heavy items such as pictures and mirrors away from beds, couches, and anywhere people sit.
  • Brace overhead light fixtures.
  • Repair defective wiring and leaky gas connections which are potential fire risks.
  • Repair any deep cracks in ceilings or foundations. Get expert advice if there are signs of structural defects.
  • Install an Automatic Gas Shut Off

Earthquake Risk Reduction at Work

Your workplace has the legal obligation to ensure that the work environment is free of hazards to employees. This includes items that may become dangerous during the seismic activities of earthquakes. Office buildings are known to shake and shift drastically during an earthquake causing everyday work equipment into deadly hazards. Please follow our earthquake risk reduction guide for your office which contains helpful tips on ways to secure your office for an earthquake.

Office Earthquake Risk Reduction

Good employees are your most valuable assets. Protect them with a safe working environment.

EQUIPMENT AND FURNISHINGS: Strap rows of multiple file cabinets, mainframes, bookcases, etc., together. High racks should be secured together on top and to the floor on the bottom. Secure desktop computers, typewriters. Keep computer CPUs on the floor next to their workstations. Secure cabinet doors with positive latches.
Store hazardous materials correctly and educate all your employees about them. Secure freestanding, moveable partitions. A good rule of thumb is to secure anything above desktop level.

OVERHEAD: Seen and unseen objects overhead and above suspended ceilings may pose hazards to workers below. Secure all objects that are above desktop level. Check for diagonal bracing wires suspended in ceilings. Ensure proper restraint of "stem" light fixtures and fluorescent light panels. Securely attach decorative ceiling panels, spotlights, speakers, air conditioning units, etc.
Check above suspended ceilings for poorly attached ducts, cables, etc.

ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT: Shock hazards exist if unsecured electrical equipment breaks its connection or exposes energized lines. Unsecured equipment may short out the power in your office building.
Secure any electrically powered equipment. Have back-up power generator for emergency lighting and to protect computer against data loss. Insure that generators, their fuel tanks, battery packs, and fuel lines are properly secured.

Secure emergency lighting: Secure telecommunication equipment, switches, and control boxes.

PLANT EQUIPMENT: Loss of plant equipment may prevent you from continuing your business after a quake. Secure water heaters, furnaces, boilers, fans, pumps, heating, ventilating, air conditioning equipment, and the ducting or pipes that go with them.

HAZARDOUS MATERIALS: Unsecured or improperly stored hazardous chemicals may force your business out of an otherwise undamaged building. Secure large containers of production chemicals or cleaning supplies. Ensure that all toxic items are in the correct container and properly labeled. Ensure that all employees know what to do in case of a spill. Keep all large containers or vats of toxic, hot, or hazardous items covered to prevent surging in an earthquake.

EMPLOYEES: Establish an education and awareness program for work and home. Encourage family involvement. Encourage employees to be prepared at home and at work. Give each employee specific instruction regarding hazards, safety warnings, emergency plans and supplies.

NEIGHBORS: Find out what your neighbors do. Their enterprise may put your business in jeopardy. You may need to plan for problems related to their potential problems.

What To Do During An Earthquake

Do you know what to do during an earthquake? It's definitely something to include in your earthquake preparedness plan. Learn about what actions you can take to increase your chances of survival when the earth starts shaking.

What To Do During An Earthquake: When Indoors

Stay as safe as possible during an earthquake. Be aware that some earthquakes are actually foreshocks and a larger earthquake might occur. Minimize your movements to a few steps to a nearby safe place and stay indoors until the shaking has stopped and you are sure exiting is safe.

When you feel an earthquake, duck under a desk or sturdy table. Stay away from windows, bookcases, file cabinets, heavy mirrors, hanging plants, and other heavy objects that could fall. Watch out for falling plaster and ceiling tiles. Stay undercover until the shaking stops and hold onto your cover. If it moves, move with it.

DROP to the ground; take COVER by getting under a sturdy table or other piece of furniture; and HOLD ON until the shaking stops. If there isn't’t a table or desk near you, cover your face and head with your arms and crouch in an inside corner of the building.

Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls, and anything that could fall, such as lighting fixtures or furniture.

If in bed when the earthquake strikes, hold on and protect your head with a pillow, unless you are under a heavy light fixture that could fall. In that case, move to the nearest safe place.

Use a doorway for shelter only if it is in close proximity to you and if you know it is a strongly supported, load-bearing doorway.

Stay inside until shaking stops and it is safe to go outside. Research has shown that most injuries occur when people inside buildings attempt to move to a different location inside the building or try to leave.

Be aware that the electricity may go out or the sprinkler systems or fire alarms may turn on. DO NOT use the elevators.

If you are in a HIGH-RISE BUILDING, and not near a desk or table, move against an interior wall and protect your head with your arms. Stay indoors. Glass windows can dislodge during the quake and sail for hundreds of feet.

If you're in a CROWDED STORE OR OTHER PUBLIC PLACE, do not rush for exits. Move away from display shelves containing objects that could fall.

If you're in a WHEELCHAIR, stay in it. Move to cover, if possible, lock your wheels, and protect your head with your arms.

If you're in the KITCHEN, move away from the refrigerator, stove, and overhead cupboards. (Take time NOW to anchor appliances, and install security latches on cupboard doors to reduce hazards.)

If you're in a STADIUM OR THEATER, stay in your seat and protect your head with your arms. Do not try to leave until the shaking is over then leave in a calm, orderly manner. Avoid rushing toward exits.

What To Do During An Earthquake: When Outdoors

Stay there. If you're OUTDOORS, move to a clear area away from trees, signs, buildings, electrical wires and poles. Move away from buildings, streetlights, and utility wires.

Once in the open, stay there until the shaking stops. The greatest danger exists directly outside buildings, at exits, and alongside exterior walls. Many of the 120 fatalities from the 1933 Long Beach earthquake occurred when people ran outside of buildings only to be killed by falling debris from collapsing walls. Ground movement during an earthquake is seldom the direct cause of death or injury. Most earthquake-related casualties result from collapsing walls, flying glass, and falling objects.

If you're on a SIDEWALK NEAR BUILDINGS, duck into a doorway to protect yourself from falling bricks, glass, plaster, and other debris.

If you're DRIVING , pull over to the side of the road and stop. Avoid overpasses, power lines, and other hazards. Stay inside the vehicle until the shaking is over. Stop as quickly as safety permits and stay in the vehicle. Avoid stopping near or under buildings, trees, overpasses, and utility wires. Proceed cautiously once the earthquake has stopped. Avoid roads, bridges, or ramps that might have been damaged by the earthquake.

What To Do After An Earthquake

If you have been fortunate to survive a catastrophic earthquake, you still won't be out of the clear yet. The days after an earthquake can be just as dangerous as the seismic event itself. Learn what you can do to survive after an earthquake.

What To Do After An Earthquake: Remaining Calm

Be prepared for aftershocks, and plan where you will take cover when they occur. Check for injuries. Give first aid, as necessary. These secondary shockwaves are usually less violent than the main quake but can be strong enough to do additional damage to weakened structures and can occur in the first hours, days, weeks, or even months after the quake.

Stay informed. Listen to a battery-operated radio or television. Listen for the latest emergency information. Tune to the emergency broadcast station on radio or television. Listen for emergency bulletins.

Open cabinets cautiously. Beware of objects that can fall off shelves.

Stay away from damaged areas. Stay away unless police, fire, or relief organizations have specifically requested your assistance. Return home only when authorities say it is safe.

Be aware of possible tsunamis if you live in coastal areas. These are also known as seismic sea waves (mistakenly called "tidal waves"). When local authorities issue a tsunami warning, assume that a series of dangerous waves is on the way. Stay away from the beach.

Help injured or trapped persons. Remember to help your neighbors who may require special assistance such as infants, the elderly, and people with disabilities. Give first aid where appropriate. Do not move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of further injury. Call for help.

Clean up spilled medicines, bleaches, gasoline or other flammable liquids immediately. Leave the area if you smell gas or fumes from other chemicals.

Inspect the entire length of chimneys for damage. Unnoticed damage could lead to a fire. Avoid broken glass

What To Do After An Earthquake: Communications

Immediately after an earthquake, your phones will probably not work. Most of our normal methods of communication will be interrupted. Telephones will be out, the mail won't be delivered (you may not have a home to deliver it to), or you may be isolated at work and unable to travel to your family. This could be because of damage to switching centers, local phone lines, and trunk lines. It could be that power to operate the phone system itself is unavailable.

The number one cause of phone failures is too many phones off the hook at one time. A number will be off the hook because they were knocked over in the shock, but a larger number will be because everyone is trying to call friends and family. This overload can damage the phone companies switching system. To prevent this damage, whole sections will shut down automatically when a certain percentage of phones are off the hook.

It's normal, after trouble, to want to check on your family, or let family know you're OK. But, we need to limit our calls if we want the system to work at all. Use the telephone only for emergency calls. The solution to this problem is to have out-of-state contact for all your family members. This way all your relatives and friends will not be tying up the phone lines trying to get you, and you them. Long distance lines do not go down from too many calls or phones falling off the hook. Another advantage is that if an earthquake shuts down the long distance lines, these lines will be one of the first lines returned to service. You will be able to reach someone out of state before you could reach someone next door.

We also recommend that you go to a pay phone to make your calls. These lines will be put in service before residential phone lines. The load on phone lines is less very late at night or early in the morning. The combination of a pay phone, calling long distance, and early morning calling is your best chance for communicating with your family.

When you reach your out-of-state contact KEEP IT SHORT, and quick. The phone system may go out again at any time. Give your condition and the condition of the family members you know about. Get information on members who are not with you. Tell them you'll call them to chat in a few days. Then say good-by, and hang up.

Out-Of-State Contact Cards should be carried by all family members and friends. The use of Out-of-State Contacts has helped many families ensure each other's safety following previous California earthquakes

What To Do After An Earthquake: Inspect Utilities

Check gas, water and electric lines. If damaged, shut off service. If gas is leaking, don't use matches, flashlights, appliances or electric switches. Open windows, leave building and report to Gas Company. TURN OFF YOUR GAS METER at the main/shut off valve.

If your building has suffered extensive damage, such as large cracks in the walls or in the concrete slab floors, etc. AND you suspect the gas lines may have been damaged. If you smell gas don't turn on or off any switches. Don't use any open flame to check for leaks. Don't turn on any battery-operated flashlights, unless they are safety rated waterproof lights. Chemical light sticks are a safe source of light in the event of a gas leak. It is very dangerous, and therefore not recommended that you go searching for gas leaks inside any damaged building. After an earthquake, aftershocks will continue to occur, possibly causing additional damage (or even first damage) to your building(s). Do not turn the gas valve back on after an earthquake, unless a qualified person has checked extensively for gas leaks. A qualified person or gas company employee will have to relight all the pilot lights.

GAS SHUT OFF: Locate main gas shut-off (usually outside the house) at the gas meter. The valve is usually on a pipe coming out of the ground, going into the gas meter. Turn the valve crosswise to the pipe (see the large example on the "Utilities" page under "Before the Earthquake." All the pilot lights in and around your home (stove, furnace, clothes dryer, swimming pool/spa heater, water heater, etc.) will go out when you turn the valve off. You will need to have the gas company, or another qualified individual, relight every pilot when the gas is turned back on. Forgetting to relight all the pilot lights could result in a dangerous gas buildup in your home. If you are concerned about your ability to turn off the main gas shut-off valve or unsure if it is in proper working order (indication of rust, etc.), or do not know how to relight your pilot lights, contact your local gas company. They can send a service representative to your house to show you the proper procedure and check the valve and pilot lights to be sure they operate properly. Clear the area around the main gas shutoff valve for quick and easy access in case of an emergency. A gas shut-off wrench for turning off the gas, should be attached to a pipe next to the shut-off valve or in another easily accessible location. Remember, if you don't smell gas or have severe damage to your home, you should not have to shut the gas off. It's your decision. Automatic gas shut off valves are an excellent way to ensure that your gas is shut off in case of a major earthquake. With an automatic shut off valve, your gas will be off even if you aren't home at the time. For installation, contact Secure-It a General Contracting Firm.

ELECTRICAL SHUT-OFF: Locate the main electrical shut-off.
Your house may be equipped with fuses or circuit breakers. If your house has fuses, you will find a knife switch handle or pullout fuse that should be marked "MAIN." If your house has circuit breakers, you may need to open the metal door of the breaker box to reveal the circuit breakers (never remove the metal cover). The main circuit breaker should be clearly marked showing on and off positions. Turn off all the small breakers first, then turn off the "main". If you have any sub panels adjacent to the main fuse or breaker panel, or in other parts of the house, in an emergency be safe and shut them off too. Shorts can sometimes develop to cause a circuit to bypass the breaker or fuse. Look for electrical system damage. If you see sparks or broken or frayed wires, or if you smell hot insulation, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. If you have to step in water to get to the fuse box or circuit breaker, call an electrician first for advice.

WATER SHUT OFF: Locate the main water service pipe into your house (probably in the front at the basement level). You will see a gate valve on the pipe. If you know you have leaks after an earthquake, you can shut off all water in your house with this valve. You may wish to paint the valve so it is easy to find in an emergency. You can shut off all water to your property by finding the water meter box (usually at the street or sidewalk). Open the cover with a 4-in-1 Tool. If this box is inaccessible or you cannot find it, call your local water department. Be sure to identify this box and the water valve inside before the need to use them arises. Inside the water meter box, you will see a valve that is similar to the valve on your gas meter. Turn it just the same as your gas valve. Check for sewage and water lines damage. If you suspect sewage lines are damaged, avoid using the toilets and call a plumber. If water pipes are damaged, contact the water company and avoid using water from the tap

What To Do After An Earthquake: Helping Adults Cope

Having just experienced the shock and pain of a disaster, you will be very busy for the next few days or weeks. Caring for your immediate needs, perhaps finding a new place to stay, planning for clean up and repairs, and filing claim forms may occupy the majority of your time. As the immediate shock wears off, you will start to rebuild and put your life back together. There are some normal reactions we may all experience as a result of a disaster. Generally, these feelings don't last long, but it is common to feel let down and resentful many months after the event. Some feelings or responses may not appear until weeks or even months after the disaster.

Some common responses after an earthquake include:

  • Irritability/Anger
  • Sadness
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches or Nausea
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Hyperactivity
  • Inability to Sleep
  • Lack of Concentration
  • Nightmares
  • Increase in Alcohol or Drug Consumption

Many victims of disaster will have at least one of these responses. Acknowledging your feelings and stress is the first step in feeling better.

Other helpful things to do to cope after an earthquake include:

  • Talk about your disaster experiences. Sharing your feelings rather than holding them in will help you feel better about what happened.
  • Take time off from cares, worries, and home repairs. Take time for recreation, relaxation or a favorite hobby. Getting away from home for a day or a few hours with close friends can help.
  • Pay attention to your health, good diet, and adequate sleep. Relaxation exercises may help if you have difficulty sleeping.
    Prepare for possible future emergencies to lessen feelings of helplessness and bring peace of mind.
  • Rebuild personal relationships in addition to repairing other aspects of your life. Couples should make time to be alone together, both to talk and have fun.
  • If stress, anxiety, depression, or physical problems continue, you may wish to contact the post-disaster services provided by the local mental health center.
  • Reread this periodically over the next few weeks and months. Being aware of your feelings and sharing them with others is an important part of recovery and feeling normal again soon

What To Do After An Earthquake: Helping Children Cope

Children may be especially upset and exhibit exaggerated emotions following the disaster. These reactions are normal and usually will not last long.

Some problems that you may experience with your children after an earthquake:

  • Excessive fear of darkness, separation, or being alone
  • Clinging to parents, fear of strangers
  • Worry Increase in immature behaviors
  • Not wanting to go to school
  • Changes in eating/sleeping behaviors
  • Increase in aggressive behavior or shyness
  • Bed-wetting or thumb sucking
  • Persistent nightmares
  • Headaches or other physical complaints

Some things that will help your child feel better after an earthquake:

  • Talk with your child about his/her feelings about the disaster. Share your feelings too.
  • Talk about what happened; give your child information he/she can understand.
  • Reassure your child that you are safe and together. You may need to repeat this reassurance often.
  • Hold and touch your child often.
  • Spend extra time with your child at bedtime.
  • Allow your child to mourn or grieve over the lost toy, a lost blanket, or a lost home.
  • If you feel your child is having problems at school, talk to his/her teacher so you can work together to help your child.

Usually a child's emotional response to a disaster will not last long. But some problems may be present or recur many months afterward. Your community mental health center is staffed by counselors skilled in talking with people experiencing disaster-related problems.

Sort By:
1
LIFE Filter Kit for Disaster Preparation and Relief
LIFE Filter Kit for Disaster Preparation and Relief
List Price: $121.50
Sale Price $109.00
You save $12.50!

LIFE Filter Disaster Kit Water Filter System for Disaster Preparedness, NGO's, Disaster Relief, or Military Deployment.

   
 
1