Proven tips for staying safe during an earthquake

Many areas are susceptible to earthquakes. Contact your emergency management office for information about earthquake risks, and check out this guide to prepare yourself and your home.

Proven tips for staying safe during an earthquake

Preparing for an earthquake

You can't stop fault lines from forming, but you can reduce the chances of breakage and fire damage in your house.

  • Fasten shelves securely to walls, and keep large or heavy objects on lower shelves.
  • Store breakable items in low cabinets with secure latches.
  • Secure the water heater to wall studs with metal earthquake straps and bolts.
  • If you have a gas heater, be sure the connector between the gas supply and the heater is the flexible kind, or have it replaced.
  • Bolt other large appliances to the floor.
  • Repair deep cracks in ceilings and foundations.
  • Identify places offering shelter in each room: under sturdy furniture; against an inside wall; away from glass, including windows, mirrors, and pictures; and away from heavy bookcases or furniture that could fall over.

During an earthquake

If you're indoors, stay inside. The most dangerous thing to do during an earthquake is to try to leave the building, because objects can fall on you.

  • Take cover under furniture or against an inside wall, and hold on.
  • If you're outdoors, move into the open — away from buildings, street lights and utility wires.
  • Stay there until the shaking stops.
  • If you're in a moving vehicle, stop quickly and stay in the vehicle until the shaking has stopped.

After an earthquake

Be prepared for aftershocks, which can occur hours, days, weeks or months after a quake. Although they're smaller than the main shock, aftershocks may bring down weakened structures.

  • Listen to a battery-operated radio or TV for emergency information.
  • Stay out of damaged buildings; if you are not at home, return there only when authorities say it is safe.
  • If you're at home, clean up spilled medicines, bleaches and gasoline or other flammable liquids immediately.
  • Leave the area if you smell gas or fumes from other chemicals.
  • Open closet and cupboard doors cautiously.
  • Closely examine the entire length of the chimney for damage before using a fireplace or heating system. Unnoticed damage can lead to a house fire.

As with any natural disaster, the best defense is being prepared and aware of the conditions. If at risk for an earthquake, listen to your local radio station to stay up-to-date on the emergency status. Review this helpful guide to develop a plan to keep your family safe and prevent damages to your home.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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