Earthquake Preparedness Guide


An earthquake is an unexpected, rapid shaking caused by the shifting of rock beneath the surface of the earth.
Being prepared for an earthquake car save your life.


*‚ÄčEarthquakes can strike anytime without warning.  If you live in an area with an earthquake risk, here is a guide to help you understand and learn learn about earthquake preparedness.


BEFORE AN EARTHQUAKE:  Recommend four steps that will make you, your family, or your workplace better prepared to survive and recover quickly:

STEP  1)  Secure your space by identifying hazards and securing moveable items.

No cost:

  • Move heavy or large items to the floor or low shelves.
  • Move things that can fall on you away from where you spend a lot of time.
  • Move heavy or unstable objects away from doors and escape routes.
Low cost:
  • Secure a water heater to wall studs with two metal straps.
  • Secure top-heavy furniture and appliances to wall studs.
  • Hang mirrors and pictures on closed hooks
  • Secure computers and TVs with special straps.
  • Prevent small objects from falling by using museum putty or wax.
  • Install latches on kitchen cabinets.
A bit more work or cost:
  • Use flexible connections where gas lines meet appliances (such as water heaters, ovens, and clothes dryers).
  • Secure overhead light fixtures.
  • Secure free-standing wood stoves or fireplace inserts.

STEP 2)  Plan to be safe by creating a disaster plan and deciding how you will communicate in an emergency.

PLAN FOR YOUR SAFETY DURING AN EARTHQUAKE:   Identify safe spots in every room, such as under sturdy desks and tables.  Practice "drop, cover, and hold on."
  • Keep shoes and a working flashlight next to each bed.
  • Know the location of utility shutoffs and keep needed tools nearby. Make sure you know how to turn off the gas, water, and electricity to your home. Only turn off the gas if you smell or hear leaking gas.  
  • Select a safe place outside of your home to meet your family or housemates after the shaking stops.
  • Designate an out-of-area contact person who can be called by everyone in the household to relay information.
  • Know about the earthquake plan developed by your children's school or day care. Keep your children's school emergency release card current.
Have occasional earthquake "drills" to practice your plan. Share your plan with people who take care of your children, pets, or home.

STEP 3)  Prepare Emergeny supply Kits

Keep one kit in your home, another in your car, and a third kit at work. Backpacks or other small bags are best for your disaster supplies kits so you can take them with you if you evacuate. Include at least the following items: 
  • Medical Supplies
  • First aid kit
  • Dust mask
  • Bottled water
  • Sturdy shoes
  • Emergency cash
  • Road maps
  • List of emergency out-of-area contact phone numbers
  • Snack foods, high in water and calories
  • Working flashlight with extra batteries and light bulbs, or light sticks
  • Comfort items such as games, crayons, writing materials, teddy bears
  • Copies of personal identification (drivers license, work ID card, etc.)


Household disaster supplies kit

In addition to your personal disaster supplies kits, store a household disaster supplies kit in an easily accessible location (in a large watertight container that can be easily moved), with a supply of the following items to last at least 3 days and ideally for 2 weeks: 
  • Water (minimum one gallon a day for each person)
  • Wrenches to turn off gas and water supplies
  • Work gloves and protective goggles
  • Portable radio with extra batteries (or hand crank for charging)
  • Additional flashlights or light sticks
  • Canned and packaged foods
  • Charcoal or gas grill for outdoor cooking and matches if needed
  • Cooking utensils, including a manual can opener
  • Comfortable, warm clothing including extra socks
  • Blankets or sleeping bags
  • Copies of vital documents such as insurance policies
Use and replace perishable items like water, food, medications and batteries on a yearly basis. 

Step 4)  Minimize financial hardship by organizing important documents, strengthening your property, and considering insurance.