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Earthquake Preparedness

Earthquakes can happen at anytime and in any season. Identifying potential hazards ahead of time and advance planning can reduce the chances of death, serious injury, or property damage.

FEMA has the following important tips on their website about what to do during an earthquake if you are caught in different situations. It's good to have these tips always in the back of your mind so you won't be caught off guard.

What to do if indoors:

  • DROP to the ground; take COVER by getting under a sturdy table or other piece of furniture; and HOLD ON until the shaking stops. If there isn't a table or desk near you, cover your face and head with your arms and crouch in an inside corner of the building.
  • Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls, and anything that could fall, such as lighting fixtures or furniture.
  • Stay in bed if you are there when the earthquake strikes. Hold on and protect your head with a pillow, unless you are under a heavy light fixture that could fall. In that case, move to the nearest safe place.
  • Use a doorway for shelter only if it is in close proximity to you and if you know it is a strongly supported, loadbearing doorway.
  • Stay inside until the shaking stops and it is safe to go outside. Research has shown that most injuries occur when people in buildings attempt to move to a different location inside the building or try to leave.
  • Be aware that the electricity may go out or the sprinkler systems or fire alarms may turn on.
  • DO NOT use the elevators.

What to do if outdoors:

  • Stay there.
  • Move away from buildings, streetlights, and utility wires.
  • Once in the open, stay there until the shaking stops. The greatest danger exists directly outside buildings, at exits and alongside exterior walls. Many of the 120 fatalities from the 1933 Long Beach earthquake occurred when people ran outside of buildings only to be killed by falling debris from collapsing walls. Ground movement during an earthquake is seldom the direct cause of death or injury. Most earthquake-related casualties result from collapsing walls, flying glass, and falling objects.

What to do if in a moving vehicle:

  • Stop as quickly as safety permits and stay in the vehicle. Avoid stopping near or under buildings, trees, overpasses, and utility wires.
  • Proceed cautiously once the earthquake has stopped. Avoid roads, bridges, or ramps that might have been damaged by the earthquake.

What to do if trapped under debris:

  • Do not light a match.
  • Do not move about or kick up dust.
  • Cover your mouth with a handkerchief or clothing.
  • Tap on a pipe or wall so rescuers can locate you. Use a whistle if one is available. Shout only as a last resort. Shouting can cause you to inhale dangerous amounts of dust.

Since assistance from local fire and police departments may not be available immediately following an earthquake, it's important to have emergency supplies prepared and easily accessible. When preparing for an earthquake, plan on having enough food, water, clothing, medical supplies and other necessary equipment for you and your family for at least 72 hours.


8 thoughts on “Earthquake Preparedness”

  • Faye@ BuffaloRedCross

    Great information! If you'd like to learn more, check out our blog as well!

  • Anonymous

    WOW, Great article!!! Much of your advice is applicable to any type of man made or natural disaster. The key to your families surfival in these cases is "emergency preparedness" or being ready BEFORE a disaster happens!!!! Check out for all your disaster supplies, kits & etc.

  • Donna

    It's a good idea to have food and water stored in several different areas of your home and in an outside shed if possible. If your home is distroyed you will not be able to enter to remove your emergency preps. Great article!

  • Anonymous

    We have had our 72 hour kits for several years. I just barely put them together when the earthquake hit Japan. The information provided and the things that we have make me feel a better if something were to ever happen to us!

  • Sara

    Good to know, thanks! I had wondered what to do if there was no table available.

  • Dickey

    Would not have guessed you needed to stay in your bed. My first reaction would be to get my kids.

  • jax

    Thanks for the very important reminders!

  • thejoyfulcottage

    The New Madrid earthquake fault is said to be going to shake soon. We're helping educate people here in KY so they understand the need to prepare for earthquakes. Your products are great to have on hand in such cases! Thanks for the great products and great prices!!

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