An earthquake is a sudden, rapid shaking of the ground caused by the shifting of rocks deep underneath the earth’s surface. Earthquakes can cause fires, tsunamis, landslides or avalanches. While they can happen anywhere without warning, areas at higher risk for earthquakes include Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Washington and the entire Mississippi River Valley.
Prepare Before an Earthquake
The best time to prepare for any disaster is before it happens.
- Practice Drop, Cover, and Hold On with family and coworkers.
- Make an Emergency Plan: Create a family emergency communications plan that has an out-of-state contact. Plan where to meet if you get separated. Make a supply kit that includes enough food and water for several days, a flashlight, a fire extinguisher and a whistle.
- Being prepared allows you to avoid unnecessary excursions and to address minor medical issues at home, alleviating the burden on urgent care centers and hospitals.
- Remember that not everyone can afford to respond by stocking up on necessities. For those who can afford it, make essential purchases and slowly build up supplies.
- Protect Your Home: Secure heavy items in your home like bookcases, refrigerators, water heaters, televisions and objects that hang on walls. Store heavy and breakable objects on low shelves.
- Consider making improvements to your building to fix structural issues that could cause your building to collapse during an earthquake.
- Consider obtaining an earthquake insurance policy. A standard homeowner’s insurance policy does not cover earthquake damage.
Stay Safe During
If an earthquake happens, protect yourself right away:
- If you are in a car, pull over and stop. Set your parking brake.
- If you are in bed, turn face down and cover your head and neck with a pillow.
- If you are outdoors, stay outdoors away from buildings.
- If you are inside, stay and do not run outside and avoid doorways.
Protect Yourself During Earthquakes
1. Drop (or Lock)
Wherever you are, drop down to your hands and knees and hold onto something sturdy. If you’re using a wheelchair or walker with a seat, make sure your wheels are locked and remain seated until the shaking stops.
Cover your head and neck with your arms. If a sturdy table or desk is nearby, crawl underneath it for shelter. If no shelter is nearby, crawl next to an interior wall (away from windows). Crawl only if you can reach better cover without going through an area with more debris. Stay on your knees or bent over to protect vital organs.
3. Hold On
If you are under a table or desk, hold on with one hand and be ready to move with it if it moves. If seated and unable to drop to the floor, bend forward, cover your head with your arms and hold on to your neck with both hands.
Using a Cane?
Using a Walker?
Using a Wheelchair?