THE EARTHQUAKE STRIKES
a Family Disaster Plan. Please see the "Family
Disaster Plan" section for general family planning information.
Develop earthquake-specific planning.
you are at risk from earthquakes:
"safe places" in each room of your home. A safe place
could be under a sturdy table or desk or against an interior wall
away from windows, bookcases, or tall furniture that could fall
on you. The shorter the distance to move to safety, the less likely
you will be injured. Injury statistics show that people moving as
little as 10 feet during an earthquake's shaking are most likely
to be injured. Also pick safe places, in your office, school and
other buildings you are frequently in.
drop, cover, and hold-on in each safe place. Drop under a sturdy
desk or table and hold on to one leg of the table or desk. Protect
your eyes by keeping your head down. Practice these actions so that
they become an automatic response. When an earthquake or other disaster
occurs, many people hesitate, trying to remember what they are supposed
to do. Responding quickly and automatically may help protect you
drop, cover, and hold-on at least twice a year. Frequent practice
will help reinforce safe behavior.
in your safe place until the shaking stops, then check to see if
you are hurt. You will be better able to help others if you
take care of yourself first, then check the people around you. Move
carefully and watch out for things that have fallen or broken, creating
hazards. Be ready for additional earthquakes called "aftershocks."
on the lookout for fires. Fire is the most common earthquake-related
hazard, due to broken gas lines, damaged electrical lines or appliances,
and previously contained fires or sparks being released.
you must leave a building after the shaking stops, use the stairs,
not the elevator. Earthquakes can cause fire alarms and fire
sprinklers to go off. You will not be certain whether there is a
real threat of fire. As a precaution, use the stairs.
you're outside in an earthquake, stay outside. Move away from buildings,
trees, streetlights, and power lines. Crouch down and cover your
head. Many injuries occur within 10 feet of the entrance to
buildings. Bricks, roofing, and other materials can fall from buildings,
injuring persons nearby. Trees, streetlights, and power lines may
also fall, causing damage or injury.
guests, babysitters, and caregivers of your plan. Everyone in
your home should know what to do if an earthquake occurs. Assure
yourself that others will respond properly even if you are not at
home during the earthquake.
training. Take a first aid class from your local Red Cross chapter.
Get training on how to use a fire extinguisher from your local fire
department. Keep your training current. Training will help you to
keep calm and know what to do when an earthquake occurs.
earthquakes with your family. Everyone should know what to do
in case all family members are not together. Discussing earthquakes
ahead of time helps reduce fear and anxiety and lets everyone know
how to respond.
with your insurance agent. Different areas have different requirements
for earthquake protection. Study locations of active faults, and
if you are at risk, consider purchasing earthquake insurance.
Assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit Please see the "Disaster
Supplies Kit" section for general supplies kit information.
Earthquake-specific supplies should include the following:
flashlight and sturdy shoes by each person's bedside.
-Disaster Supplies Kit basics
-Evacuation Supply Kit
cover, and hold on! Move only a few steps to a nearby safe place.
It is very dangerous to try to leave a building during an earthquake
because objects can fall on you. Many fatalities occur when people
run outside of buildings, only to be killed by falling debris from
collapsing walls. In U.S. buildings, you are safer to stay where
you are in bed, hold on and stay there, protecting your head with
a pillow. You are less likely to be injured staying where you
are. Broken glass on the floor has caused injury to those who have
rolled to the floor or tried to get to doorways.
you are outdoors, find a clear spot away from buildings, trees,
streetlights, and power lines. Drop to the ground and stay there
until the shaking stops. Injuries can occur from falling trees,
street-lights and power lines, or building debris.
you are in a vehicle, pull over to a clear location, stop and stay
there with your seatbelt fastened until the shaking has stopped.
Trees, power lines, poles, street signs, and other overhead items
may fall during earthquakes. Stopping will help reduce your risk,
and a hard-topped vehicle will help protect you from flying or falling
objects. Once the shaking has stopped, proceed with caution. Avoid
bridges or ramps that might have been damaged by the quake.
indoors until the shaking stops and you're sure it's safe to exit.
More injuries happen when people move during the shaking of an earthquake.
After the shaking has stopped, if you go outside, move quickly away
from the building to prevent injury from falling debris.
away from windows. Windows can shatter with such force that
you can be injured several feet away.
a high-rise building, expect the fire alarms and sprinklers to go
off during a quake. Earthquakes frequently cause fire alarm
and fire sprinkler systems to go off even if there is no fire. Check
for and extinguish small fires, and, if exiting, use the stairs.
you are in a coastal area, move to higher ground. Tsunamis are
often created by earthquakes. (See the "Tsunami"section
for more information).
you are in a mountainous area or near unstable slopes or cliffs,
be alert for falling rocks and other debris that could be loosened
by the earthquake. Landslides commonly happen after earthquakes.
(See the "Landslide" section for more information.)
AFTER THE EARTHQUAKE
yourself for injuries. Often people tend to others without checking
their own injuries. You will be better able to care for others if
you are not injured or if you have received first aid for your injuries.
yourself from further danger by putting on long pants, a long-sleeved
shirt, sturdy shoes, and work gloves. This will protect your
from further injury by broken objects.
you have taken care of yourself, help injured or trapped persons.
If you have it in your area, call 9-1-1, then give first aid when
appropriate. Don't try to move seriously injured people unless they
are in immediate danger of further injury.
for and extinguish small fires. Eliminate fire hazards. Putting
out small fires quickly, using available resources, will prevent
them from spreading. Fire is the most common hazard following earthquakes.
Fires followed the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 for three days,
creating more damage than the earthquake.
the gas on at the main valve, unless you smell gas or think it's
leaking. It may be weeks or months before professionals can
turn gas back on using the correct procedures. Explosions have caused
injury and death when homeowners have improperly turned their gas
back on by themselves.
up spilled medicines, bleaches, gasoline, or other flammable liquids
immediately and carefully. Avoid the hazard of a chemical emergency.
closet and cabinet doors cautiously. Contents may have shifted
during the shaking of an earthquake and could fall, creating further
damage or injury.
your home for damage. Get everyone out if your home is unsafe.
Aftershocks following earthquakes can cause further damage to unstable
buildings. If your home has experienced damage, get out before aftershocks
neighbors who may require special assistance. Elderly people
and people with disabilities may require additional assistance.
People who care for them or who have large families may need additional
assistance in emergency situations.
to a portable, battery-operated radio (or television) for updated
emergency information and instructions.
If the electricity is out, this may be your main source of information.
Local radio and local officials provide the most appropriate advice
for your particular situation.
aftershocks. Each time you feel one, drop, cover, and hold on!
Aftershocks frequently occur minutes, days, weeks, and even months
following an earthquake.
out for fallen power lines or broken gas lines, and stay out of
damaged areas. Hazards caused by earthquakes are often difficult
to see, and you could be easily injured.
out of damaged buildings. If you are away from home, return
only when authorities say it is safe. Damaged buildings may be destroyed
by aftershocks following the main quake.
battery-powered lanterns or flashlights to inspect your home.
Kerosene lanterns, torches, candles, and matches may tip over or
ignite flammables inside.
the entire length of chimneys carefully for damage. Unnoticed
damage could lead to fire or injury from falling debris during an
aftershock. Cracks in chimneys can be the cause of a fire years
pictures of the damage, both to the house and its contents, for
smoking inside buildings. Smoking in confined areas can cause
entering buildings, use extreme caution. Building damage may
have occurred where you least expect it. Carefully watch every step
walls, floor, doors, staircases, and windows to make sure that the
building is not in danger of collapsing.
for gas leaks. If you smell gas or hear a blowing or hissing
noise, open a window and quickly leave the building. Turn off the
gas, using the outside main valve if you can, and call the gas company
from a neighbor's home. If you turn off the gas for any reason,
it must be turned back on by a professional.
for electrical system damage. If you see sparks or broken or
frayed wires, or if you smell burning insulation, turn off the electricity
at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. If you have to step in
water to get to the fuse box or circuit breaker, call an electrician
first for advice.
for sewage and water line damage. If you suspect sewage lines
are damaged, avoid using the toilets and call a plumber. If water
pipes are damaged, contact the water company and avoid using water
from the tap. You can obtain safe water from undamaged water heaters
or by melting ice cubes.
for loose plaster, drywall, and ceilings that could fall.
the telephone only to report life-threatening emergencies. Telephone
lines are frequently overwhelmed in disaster situations. They need
to be clear for emergency calls to get through.
animals closely. Leash dogs and place them in a fenced yard.
The behavior of pets may change dramatically after an earthquake.
Normally quiet and friendly cats and dogs may become aggressive
information obtained from FEMA