Earthquake Safety Tips for You and Your Community
“I felt a jolt, and then a few seconds later, everything started to shake.”
“It only lasted a few seconds but it felt like hours.”
When the shaking stopped, I looked around the room and it was a mess. Everything had tumbled off the shelves and there were broken items everywhere.”
When an earthquake hits, it can be unexpected, terrifying, and devastating. If you think your community is safe from earthquakes, you may be surprised to learn that these deadly disasters don’t just impact California. These earthquake hazard maps from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) show that there are earthquake hazards in nearly every U.S. state. In fact, both Oklahoma and Alaska experience more earthquakes per year than California.
To make sure you and your citizens are prepared for an earthquake event, no matter where your community is located, communicate these safety tips to citizens several times per year to ensure they stay top of mind, in case the unexpected occurs:
- Develop an earthquake readiness plan and share it with members of your family. It should include where to go if you need to evacuate your home, and a safe place to go in each room of the house while the earthquake is going on to protect you from falling debris.
- Keep emergency supplies stocked in your house, including canned food, a first aid kit, at least three gallons of water, a battery-operated flashlight, a battery-operated radio, and dust masks and goggles for all members of your family.
- Keep a list of contact information for the emergency response organizations in your community in an easy-to-find, and secure location.
- Be prepared for aftershocks, which are smaller earthquakes that occur after a larger one. If an aftershock occurs, be prepared to “drop, cover, and hold on.”
- Once the quake ends, immediately check for injuries to yourself, and those around you. Treat any injuries immediately as best you can until safety personnel are able to assist.
- If you are trapped, do not move around, or kick up dust. Remain where you are, and remain calm, until help arrives.
- Check for damage to your home. If there is severe damage, especially to the support structure, roof, or foundation, evacuate the property until it’s safe to return and begin repairs.
- If an earthquake occurs, as soon as its safe and you are able, turn off the gas and water main lines to your home. If you smell or hear a gas leak, immediately evacuate the property, and report the leak to the utility company or fire department.
- If the earthquake causes the power to go out, unplug major appliances to prevent damage when power is restored.
- During the recovery period, monitor news reports from your local government via a battery-operated radio, TV, social media, and phone text or voicemail alerts.