Earthquakes can happen anywhere and without warning. California, Alaska and the Mississippi Valley are at higher risk, but tremors can occur all over the country. With the recent earthquakes in Southern California, we want you to ask yourself: If the ground starts to shake, am I ready?
Earthquakes can cause buildings to collapse, heavy items to fall and fires to start – all of which can result in injuries and property damage. They can also cause secondary disasters like landslides and avalanches. Here are some ways to prepare for an earthquake to protect your family and your belongings.
During an earthquake, your only thought should be immediately protecting yourself and loved ones. A little preparation ahead of time can help prevent injury, reduce stress and provide your family with needed supplies in the aftermath.
- Protect personal belongings and prevent additional hazards. Store heavy or breakable items on low shelves. Secure televisions and any items hung on walls.
- Make a family emergency communications plan. Discuss where to meet if you get separated and include an out-of-state contact that can be reached to help coordinate.
- Create a natural disaster emergency kit. Use a basic survival kit that includes essentials like a first aid kit and water pouches. Then add to it based on your family’s needs – and don’t forget your pets when planning! Include enough emergency food and water for the entire family for at least three days and any medications that may be needed. Pack a waterproof flashlight, fire extinguisher, whistle, extra batteries and any charging equipment needed for phones or other critical items.
Protect Yourself During an Earthquake - Drop. Cover. Hold on!
If an earthquake occurs, protect yourself and family right away. Drop to the ground and cover your head and neck with your arms. If needed, quickly crawl to reach cover from falling objects. Get underneath or hold onto any sturdy furniture until the shaking stops.
- If you are indoors, don’t run outside.
- If you are outdoors, stay outside. Move away from utility wires, buildings, street lights, overpasses and other structures.
- If you are in a vehicle, pull over and stop in a clear area away from structures.
- If you are in bed, stay in bed and cover your head and neck with a pillow.
- If you are near slopes or mountains, look out for falling rocks or landslides.
Be aware of your surroundings and expect there may be a level of chaos and confusion during and after the earthquake.
Click here for more information and resources on preparing for disasters.
Check out Be Prepared: Household Earthquake Safety Tips and Helpful Home Modifications to Consider for additional information on how to be prepared for an earthquake.