Make sure all family members know how to respond after an earthquake. Teach all family members how and when to turn off gas, electricity, and water. Teach children how and when to call 911, police, or fire department and which radio station to tune to for emergency information. Contact your local emergency management office or American Red Cross chapter for more information on earthquakes.
In case family members are separated from one another during an earthquake (a real possibility during the day when adults are at work and children are at school), develop a plan for reuniting after the disaster. Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as the “family contact.” After a disaster, it is often easier to call long distance. Make sure everyone in the family knows the name, address, and phone number of the contact person.
If indoors, take cover under a piece of heavy furniture or against an inside wall and hold on. The most dangerous thing to do during the shaking of an earthquake is to try to leave the building because objects can fall on you so stay indoors.
If outdoors, move into the open, away from buildings, street lights, and utility wires. Once in the open, stay there until the shaking stops.
If in a moving vehicle, stop quickly and stay in the vehicle. Move to a clear area away from buildings, trees, overpasses, or utility wires. Once the shaking has stopped, proceed with caution. Avoid bridges or ramps that might have been damaged by the quake.
- Install anchor bolts to better connect your home to its foundation.
- Bolt or strap shelves, cupboards and bookcases to the wall.
- Use flexible conduits and connectors for electrical and gas appliances.
- 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 other seating areas.
- Brace overhead light fixtures.
- Repair defective electrical wiring and leaky gas connections. These are potential fire risks.
- Secure a water heater by strapping it to the wall studs and bolting it to the floor.
- Repair any deep cracks in ceilings or foundations. Get expert advice if there are signs of structural defects.
- Store weed killers, pesticides, and flammable products securely in closed cabinets with latches and on bottom shelves.