Earthquake Safety

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An earthquake is a sudden, rapid shaking of the Earth caused by the breaking and shifting of rock beneath the Earth's surface. This shaking can cause buildings and bridges to collapse; disrupt gas, electric and phone service; and sometimes trigger landslides, avalanches, flash floods, fires and huge destructive ocean waves.

If the earthquake occurs in a populated area, it may cause deaths, injuries and extensive property damage. For information on protecting your business download the Quakesmart toolkit.

Here are some tips to protect your family and your home. 

Before an Earthquake Strikes: 

  • Plan and hold earthquake drills for your family.
  • Choose a location where family members will meet if separated during the quake.  

Make Your Home Safer:

  • Strap water heaters, appliances and TVs to wall studs.
  • Secure pictures, mirrors and ornaments to the wall with appropriate fasteners.
  • Know where and how to shut off electricity, gas, and water services.
  • Assemble disaster survival kits to last at least 72 hours for each person in the house.
  • Check with local emergency managers for additional tips and safety training. 

During an Earthquake: 

  • Keep calm. Expect the earthquake to last from a few seconds to a few minutes.
  • If indoors, stay there until the shaking stops. Make sure to drop down to the floor and take cover under a sturdy piece of furniture or an interior wall. Hold onto the furniture and keep your position.  
  • If outdoors, move into an open area away from trees, buildings, utility wires, or signs. Stay in the open until the shaking stops.  

After an Earthquake: 

  • Check for injuries.
  • Don't move injured persons unless they are in immediate danger. 
  • Turn on your TV or radio for emergency information and instructions.  
  • Check utilities for gas and/or water leaks, or broken electrical connections.
  • Be prepared to turn off utilities in the event they are damaged.  
  • Clean up medications, cleaning products, and/or flammable liquids.
  • Check food and water supplies.
  • Open cabinets carefully, to avoid objects falling out.  

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