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How to prepare

  • Keep and maintain a disaster supply kit in an easy-to-access location
  • Pre identify safe places in each room of your home, workplace and/or school. A safe place could be under a piece of furniture or against an interior wall away from windows, bookcases or tall furniture that could fall on you
  • Practice "Drop, Cover, and Hold On!" in each safe place
  • Keep a flashlight and sturdy shoes by each person’s bed
  • Bolt and brace water heaters and gas appliances to wall studs
  • Bolt bookcases, china cabinets and other tall furniture to wall studs
  • Hang heavy items, such as pictures and mirrors, away from beds, couches and anywhere people sleep or sit
  • Learn how to shut off the gas valves in your home and keep a wrench handy for that purpose

What to do during an earthquake

If you are inside when the shaking starts…
  • Drop, Cover, and Hold on! Move as little as possible
  • If you are in bed, stay there, curl up and hold on. Protect your head with a pillow
  • Stay away from windows to avoid being injured by shattered glass
  • Stay indoors until the shaking stops and you are sure it is safe to exit. If you must leave the building after the shaking stops, never use an elevator, always use the stairs

If you are outside when the shaking starts…

  • Find a clear spot, away from buildings, power lines, trees and streetlights, and drop to the ground. Stay there until the shaking stops
  • If you are in a vehicle, pull over to a clear location and stop. Avoid bridges, overpasses and power lines if possible. Stay inside with your seat belt fastened until the shaking stops. Then, drive carefully, avoiding bridges and ramps that may have been damaged
  • If a power line falls on your vehicle, do not get out. Call 911 and wait for assistance
  • If you are in an area near unstable slopes be alert for falling rocks and other debris

What to do after an earthquake

  • Check yourself for injuries and get first aid, if necessary, before helping injured or trapped persons
  • After an earthquake, the disaster may continue. Expect and prepare for potential aftershocks, landslides, hazardous materials releases, wide spread utility outages, and other potential threats
  • Each time you feel an aftershock Drop, Cover, and Hold On!  Aftershocks frequently occur minutes, days, weeks and even months following an earthquake
  • Put on long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, sturdy shoes and work gloves to protect against injury from broken objects
  • Look quickly for damage in and around your home and get everyone out if your home is unsafe
  • Listen to a portable, battery operated or hand-crank radio for updated emergency information and instructions
  • Check the telephones in your home or workplace to see if you can get a dial tone. Make only brief calls to report life-threatening emergencies
  • Look for and extinguish small fires. Fire is the most common hazard after an earthquake
  • Clean up spilled medication, bleach, gasoline or other flammable liquids immediately
  • Open closet and cabinet doors carefully as contents may have shifted
  • Help people who require special assistance such as infants, children and the elderly or disabled
  • Watch out for fallen power lines or broken gas lines and stay out of damaged areas
  • Keep animals under your direct control
  • Stay out of damaged buildings
  • If you were away from home, return only when authorities say it is safe to do so. Use extreme caution and examine walls, floors, doors, staircases and windows to check for damage
  • Be careful when driving after an earthquake and anticipate traffic light outages
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