Education

How Prepared are YOU for: An Earthquake

Although escaping an occurring earthquake may not be an option, here is what you can do to prepare for when things start to get shaken up.

Perhaps one of the scarier types of disasters out there, earthquakes tend to occur with zero warning at all. 

Although earthquakes often affect only specific parts of the country and regions of the world, the fact that they pop up without any warning whatsoever makes this a perfect motivator to always be prepared for disaster. 

You never know when an earthquake may shake, rattle, and rumble your life, which is why we urge you to put into practice the following pieces of advice on how you and your loved ones can be prepared for an earthquake. 

How to Prepare for Earthquakes

  • Identify safe spots in each room of your home. 

    Note sturdy tables, desks and interior walls. When an earthquake begins, you could be absolutely anywhere in your home, so knowing where exactly to go when things begin to sway and shake that will keep you safe from falling debris or tumbling home decorations is key. Don’t designate just one spot in your home as the “safe place” –identify at least one space in each room.
  • Conduct practice drills with your family and make sure they know of the safest locations in your home.

    Ensuring that you are not the only one with the knowledge of what to do when an earthquake strikes is pivotal in keeping your entire household safe and prepared. Discuss openly what needs to be done and what steps should be taken in case things start to shake and regularly check in to ensure they remember. 
  • Decide how and when your family will reunite, if separated during an earthquake.

    Having set meeting places is a great way to provide peace of mind in times of disaster. When a disaster is really bad, cell phone and internet services may bottom out and become unreliable. In times like that, it will be a big relief for you and your loved ones to know exactly where to reunite. 
  • Choose an out-of-state friend or relative to contact so family and friends know your status.

    Cell phones and internet may not always be reliable/available after a big disaster strikes, so having a friend or relative who lives outside of the disaster zone be designated as your family’s hub of information will be helpful. Contacting them by landline when possible can be a bit more reliable when cell phones and internet is unavailable, so keep their phone number written down somewhere easy to find. 
  • Learn the basics of First Aid and CPR and put together a first aid kit.

    Really bad earthquakes can be strong enough to topple overpasses and make roads and highways undrivable for emergency vehicles, which means you and will be hard to reach if injured and in need of urgent medical attention. Knowing how to provide CPR, as well as the basics on how to treat wounds and injuries could save you or a loved one’s life. The Red Cross has a CPR training as well as a free to download app that we recommend having on your smartphone in times of emergency. 
  • Learn how to shut off water, gas and electricity if you suspect/confirm a leak.

    Locate your house’s gas meter, water line, and electrical box and learn how to interact with them (or at least learn how to turn them off) in the case of an emergency. Gas leaks, electrical fires, and flooding from broken pipes can cause additional harm during and after a disaster and knowing what you can manipulate to reduce the damage can be a big help. 
  • Check chimneys, roofs, walls and foundations for stability.

    If possible, have your home inspected by a professional for how secure and stable your home currently is. Having a professional look over the status of your home will allow you to properly have your home reinforced to endure the potential shaking and wobbling that an earthquake will provide 
  • Secure your water heater and major appliances as well as tall, heavy furniture, hanging plants, mirrors and picture frames.

    Sure, right now your home’s heavy appliances, wall decorations, and cabinets seem pretty unmovable …but what about when the entire house begins to vibrate and hop up and down? Potential for preventable injury is found when items that could be secured in place aren’t. Use wall anchors whenever possible for both heavy and light decorations and reinforce your home’s heavy appliances in place as much as you can. 
  • Keep breakables, heavy objects and flammable or hazardous liquids in secure cabinets or on lower shelves.

    You don’t need a physics degree to know that heavier objects land harder when they have more time to fall, so keep your heavier objects as close to the ground as possible. While you’re rearranging your items, keep anything that could fall and splatter or spill on lower shelves too –especially if the spillable liquids are flammable or chemical in nature. Fires and even slips are all preventable, so think twice about how you arrange your stored items. 
  • Check on your neighbors, enact your emergency plan.

    After an earthquake settles and you check on your own family members, it’s important to go and check in on your neighbors. You cannot assume that everyone around you is as prepared as you are for disaster, so checking in on those around you could in fact save a life. 

 

We’re knocking on wood that your disaster preparedness never gets put to the test… but being prepared doesn’t stop here.    

Learn about how to pack your own preparedness kit and how you can prepare for floods, sever wind events (tornadoes, tropical storms, hurricanes), fires and other disasters here.    

Bookmark this page and help us spread the habit of preparedness by sharing these tips across your social channels.