A little knowledge and a few precautionary measures
can enormously increase your chances of surviving an earthquake
- or any other type of hazard. The keys are education and
preparing in advance. The earthquake safety tips below will
not make you an expert. However, they could make a life-saving
difference if you find yourself in an earthquake
situation. Invest in your personal safety by studying below.
Before the Earthquake:
- Learn how to survive during the ground motion.
This is described in the "During the Earthquake" section below. The earthquake safety tips there will prepare
you for the fast action needed - most earthquakes are
over in seconds so knowing what to do instinctively is
- Teach all members of your family about earthquake
safety. This includes: 1) the actions you should take
when an earthquake occurs, 2) the safe places in a room
such as under a strong desk, along interior walls, and
3) places to avoid such as near windows, large mirrors,
hanging objects, heavy furniture and fireplaces.
- Stock up on emergency supplies. These include:
battery operated radio (and extra batteries), flashlights
(and extra batteries), first aid kit, bottled water, two
weeks food and medical supplies, blankets, cooking fuel,
tools needed to turn off your gas, water and electric
- Arrange your home for safety: Store heavy objects
on lower shelves and store breakable objects in cabnents
with latched doors. Don't hang heavy mirrors or pictures
above where people frequently sit or sleep.
- Anchor heavy appliances and furniture such as
water heaters, refrigerators and bookcases.
- Store flamable liquids away from potential ignition
sources such as water heaters, stoves and furnaces.
- Get Educated. Learn what to do during an earthquake
(see below). Then you will be ready for the fast action
needed. Make sure that all members of your family have
this important education.
- Learn where the main turn-offs are for your water,
gas and electricity. Know how to turn them off and the
location of any needed tools.
During the Earthquake:
- If you are indoors, stay there. Quickly move to
a safe location in the room such as under a strong desk,
a strong table, or along an interior wall. The goal is
to protect yourself from falling objects and be located
near the structural strong points of the room. Avoid taking
cover near windows, large mirrors, hanging objects, heavy
furniture, heavy appliances or fireplaces.
- If you are cooking, turn off the stove and take
- If you are outdoors, move to an open area where
falling objects are unlikely to strike you. Move away
from buildings, powerlines and trees.
- If you are driving, slow down smoothly and stop
on the side of the road. Avoid stopping on or under bridges and overpasses,
or under power lines, trees and large signs. Stay in your car.
After the Earthquake:
- Check for injuries, attend to injuries if needed,
help ensure the safety of people around you.
- Check for damage. If your building is badly damaged
you should leave it until it has been inspected by a safety
- If you smell or hear a gas leak, get everyone
outside and open windows and doors. If you can do it safely,
turn off the gas at the meter. Report the leak to the
gas company and fire department. Do not use any electrical
appliances because a tiny spark could ignite the gas.
- If the power is out, unplug major appliances to
prevent possible damage when the power is turned back
on. If you see sparks, frayed wires, or smell hot insulation
turn off electricity at the main fuse box or breaker.
If you will have to step in water to turn off the electricity
you should call a professional to turn it off for you.