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HOW TO PREPARE: EARTHQUAKE

USGS Newsroom
Recent Study Shows Odds High for Big California Quakes

Be Ready!

Prepare an emergency kit of food, water and supplies including a flashlight, portable battery-operated radio, batteries, medicines, first aid kit, money and clothing. Store enough supplies for 3-5 days. Keep supplies in your car too!

Plan Ahead.

  • Decide how and where your family will reunite if separated during a quake (a real possibility during the day when adults are at work and children are at school), develop a plan for reuniting after the disaster.
  • Local phone numbers will be blocked. Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as the "family contact." After a disaster, it's often easier to call long distance. Make sure everyone in the family knows the name, address, and phone number of the contact person.

Practice! Practice! Practice!

  • Identify Safe Places Indoors and Outdoors
    • Under sturdy furniture such as a heavy desk or table.
    • Against an inside wall.
    • Away from where glass could shatter around windows, mirrors, pictures, or where heavy bookcases or other heavy furniture could fall over.
    • In the open, away from buildings, trees, telephone and electrical lines, overpasses, or elevated expressways.
  • Conduct practice drills so you and your family know the safe locations in your home. Remember to Drop, Cover and Hold!
  • Learn first aid and CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation)
  • Learn how to shut off gas, water and electricity in case the lines are damaged.
  • SAFETY NOTE: Do not turn off the gas unless you hear it, smell it or observe the gas meter dial moving unusually quickly. Don’t attempt to relight the gas pilot yourself. Call the utility company.

Brace it, Bolt it, Tie it down.

  • Check chimneys, roofs, walls and foundations for stability. Make sure your house is bolted to its foundation.
  • Secure your water heater and major appliances as well as tall, heavy furniture, hanging plants, mirrors and picture frames.
  • Keep breakables, heavy objects, flammable or hazardous liquids such as, paints, pest sprays and cleaning products, in secured cabinets or on lower shelves away from heat sources.

Hi Neighbor!

Neighbors who know each other work better during emergencies. Remember that your neighborhood may be on its own for 3-5 days!