strike suddenly, violently and without warning. Identifying potential
hazards ahead of time and advance planning can reduce the dangers
of serious injury or loss of life from an earthquake.
BEFORE Check for hazards
in the home.
Identify safe places in
- Fasten shelves securely
- Place large or heavy
objects on lower shelves.
- Store breakable items
such as bottled foods, glass, and china in low, closed cabinets
- Hang heavy items such
as pictures and mirrors away from beds, couches, and anywhere
- Brace overhead light
- Repair defective electrical
wiring and leaky gas connections. These are potential fire risks.
- Secure a water heater
by strapping it to the wall studs and bolting it to the floor.
- Repair any deep cracks
in ceilings or foundations. Get expert advice if there are signs
of structural defects.
- Store weed killers,
pesticides, and flammable products securely in closed cabinets
with latches and on bottom shelves.
Locate safe places outdoors.
- Under sturdy furniture
such as a heavy desk or table.
- Against an inside
- 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.
Make sure all family
members know how to respond after an earthquake.
Teach all family members how and when to turn off gas, electricity,
Teach children how and
when to call 9-1-1, police, or fire department and which radio station
to tune to for emergency information.
Contact your local emergency
management office or American Red Cross chapter for more information
Have disaster supplies
Develop an emergency communication
- Flashlight and extra
- Portable battery-operated
radio and extra batteries
- First aid kit and
- Emergency food and
- Nonelectric can opener
- Essential medicines
- Cash and credit cards
- Sturdy shoes
In case family members are separated from one another during an earthquake
(a real possibility during the day when adults are at work and children
are at school), develop a plan for reuniting after the disaster.
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
DURING If indoors:
- Take cover under a
piece of heavy furniture or against an inside wall and hold on.
- Stay inside.
- The most dangerous
thing to do during the shaking of an earthquake is to try to leave
the building because objects can fall on you.
If in a moving vehicle:
- Move into the open,
away from buildings, street lights, and utility wires.
- Once in the open,
stay there until the shaking stops.
Pets after an Earthquake
- Stop quickly and stay
in the vehicle.
- Move to a clear area
away from buildings, trees, overpasses, or utility wires.
- Once the shaking has
stopped, proceed with caution. Avoid bridges or ramps that might
have been damaged by the quake.
AFTER Be prepared for aftershocks.
- The behavior of pets
may change dramatically after an earthquake. Normally quiet and
friendly cats and dogs may become aggressive or defensive. Watch
animals closely. Leash dogs and place them in a fenced yard.
- Pets may not be allowed
into shelters for health and space reasons. Prepare an emergency
pen for pets in the home that includes a 3-day supply of dry food
and a large container of water.
Although smaller than the main shock, aftershocks cause additional
damage and maybring weakened structures down. Aftershocks can occur
in the first hours, days, weeks, or even months after the quake.
Help injured or trapped
Give first aid where appropriate. Do not move seriously injured
persons unless they are in immediate danger of further injury. Call
Listen to a battery-operated
radio or television for the latest emergency information.
Remember to help your
neighbors who may require special assistance--infants, the elderly,
and people with disabilities.
Stay out of damaged
buildings. Return home only when authorities say it is safe.
INSPECTING UTILITIES IN
A DAMAGED HOME Check for gas leaks--If you smell gas or hear blowing
or hissing noise, open a window and quickly leave the building. Turn
off the gas at 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.
- Use the telephone
only for emergency calls.
- Clean up spilled medicines,
bleaches or gasoline or other flammable liquids immediately. Leave
the area if you smell gas or fumes from other chemicals.
- Open closet and cupboard
- Inspect the entire
length of chimneys carefully for damage. Unnoticed damage could
lead to a fire.
Look for electrical
system damage--If you see sparks or broken or frayed wires, or if
you smell hot 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.
Check for sewage and
water lines 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 by melting ice cubes.
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