What to do in an Earthquake

How can I be prepared?Electricity, water, gas and telephones may not be working after an earthquake. The police and fire departments are likely to be tied up. You should be prepared to fend for yourself for three days to a week. You'll need food and water (a gallon a day per person); a first aid kit; a fire extinguisher; a flashlight; a portable radio; extra batteries, blankets, clothes, shoes and money; medication; an adjustable or pipe wrench to turn off gas or water if necessary; and an alternate cooking source (barbecue or camping stove). This list can also be applied to other natural disasters such as floods and wildfires.

What should I do during an earthquake? If you're indoors, stay there. Get under -- and hold onto -- a desk or table. Stay clear of exterior walls, glass, heavy furniture, fireplaces and appliances. The kitchen is a particularly dangerous spot. If you're outside, get into the open. Stay clear of buildings, power lines or anything else that could fall on you. If you're driving, move the car out of traffic and stop. Avoid parking under or on bridges or overpasses. Try to get clear of trees, light posts, signs and power lines. When you resume driving, watch out for road hazards. If you're in a mountainous area, beware of the potential for landslides. Likewise, if you're near the ocean, be aware that tsunamis are associated with large earthquakes. Get to high ground.

How about after a quake?Check for fire or fire hazards. If you smell gas, shut off the main gas valve. If there's evidence of damage to electrical wiring, shut off the power at the control box. Be aware that items may fall out of cupboards or closets when the door is opened. If the phone is working, only use it in case of emergency. Be aware that chimneys can be weakened and fall with a touch. Listen to the radio for important information. Expect aftershocks.

Sources: California Geological Survey/California Geology, USGS, Arkansas Center for Earthquake Education and Technology Transfer, Governor's Office of Emergency Services, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), National Science Foundation, Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC), American Red Cross, Center for Earthquake Research and Information/University of Memphis.

Earthquake Preparedness Links :

Earthquake Preparedness Tip Sheets(OES)

Putting Down Roots in Earthquake Country-Your Handbook for Living in Southern California (SCEC)

Home Quake Safety Tool Kit - Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG)

What to do After an Earthquake (American Red Cross)

Earthquake Safety Information (FEMA)

Earthquake Preparedness Information(USGS)