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Earthquake Safety Tips

 Updated Dec. 2021

What to Do Before, During, and After an Earthquake

Earthquakes are more common than we think, especially in places with high seismic activity cities like California, Nevada, Alaska, Hawaii, and many other Western states. 

However, the Pacific Coast states aren’t the only ones vulnerable to earthquakes. Oklahoma experienced a 4,000% increase in earthquake activity within the past decade, showing that seismic activity is possible no matter where in the US you are.

It is essential to know how to prepare for an earthquake, what to do during it, and what to do after it hits. 

Here are some earthquake safety tips to guide you on what to do before, during, and after an earthquake.

Safety Tips for Before an Earthquake

Earthquakes are unpredictable which is why having an earthquake preparedness plan ready before one strikes is essential.

If you live in a high seismic city, there are a couple of things you should always have on hand in case of an earthquake.

Create an earthquake readiness plan

Be prepared by having an earthquake readiness plan nearby.

Make sure each person knows what to do and where to go as soon as they feel the vibrations of an earthquake.

  • Decide on a meeting point for your friends and family following the earthquake.
  • Make sure you have a fire extinguisher in your home placed in an easily accessible location.
  • Be sure you know how to turn off the water, gas, and electricity in your home. 
  • Secure heavy items, such as shelves, bookcases, mirrors, and light fixtures to the wall. 

Anything that could fall over during an earthquake and land on someone is a hazard. Do not leave any heavy items on shelves because they will fall off during an earthquake and potentially cause an injury.

Choose earthquake-safe locations

Choose earthquake-safe locations in every room of your house, office, school, or any place that you go to regularly. 

Earthquake-safe locations are the places you will take cover in when an earthquake strikes and should be away from windows or any furniture that could fall on you.

Prepare an earthquake kit

Additionally, you should prepare an emergency earthquake kit

During the aftermath of an earthquake, you may be stuck in a location without food or power for days. 

Whether you make your own kit or buy a professional kit, an earthquake survival kit will bring security during a time of crisis. This kit should consist of water, food, medications, a first-aid kit, bandages for injuries, a flashlight, batteries, a radio, thermal blankets, and other personal items.

What to Do During an Earthquake

When an earthquake strikes, trying to figure out what to do to stay safe can be overwhelming, and scrambling to come up with what to do during it may be dangerous.  

Ensure you know what to do during an earthquake before it occurs.

Safety tips during an earthquake

  • Drop down to your knees. This way, the earthquake cannot knock you over.  
  • Take cover. Cover your head and neck with your arms or an object to protect you from debris or furniture falling during the earthquake. If possible, go to a wall near the center of the building or house you are in, take cover in a doorway, or crawl under a heavy piece of furniture, such as a desk or table.  
  • Hold on. Hold on to it tightly if you have anything sturdy near your safe spot until the shaking stops.  
  • Stay away from windows and furniture that can fall on you, such as bookcases and televisions.  
  • If you are outside, get away from anything that could fall on you, such as trees, power lines, buildings, or other debris.
  • If you are in a car, pull over to a spot away from trees, power lines, and buildings. Wait in the car until the shaking stops.  
  • If you are in a wheelchair, you should lock your wheels and bend over while covering your head.  

In general, it’s best to stay where you are until the earthquake is over. 

Do not run away or go outside, as that will only create more considerable risk for getting hit by a flying object, crushed by debris, or falling over.

After an Earthquake

Once an earthquake has ended, it’s time to recover.  

After the shaking has stopped, leave the building you are in and retreat to an open space away from damaged areas. Check yourself and others for any injuries and provide first aid if needed.

Evaluating the damage

Here are a couple tips when checking for environmental damage after an earthquake:

  • Check your water, gas, and electric lines for any damage. If there are any signs of damage, shut off the valves. If you can smell gas, open all your doors and windows and leave your home immediately. Report a broken gas line to the authorities when possible. 
  • Do not use candles, matches, or open flames as a light source. Earthquakes often result in broken gas lines, which are dangerous if mixed with open flames. That is why it is critical to have battery-powered flashlights in your home and work. 
  • If you are near an ocean, find out about the tsunami evacuation plans in your area.  

If trapped in a location, use whatever communication you have to draw attention to yourself. 

Whether that is a cell phone that still has service, a whistle, or tapping on a wall, you will want to do whatever you can to alert rescuers of your situation.

In the likely event of aftershocks, which usually happen within the first few days following an earthquake, expect to repeat a lot of these steps.

In the untimely occurrence of an earthquake, LifeSecure is here to help you prepare for the worst. Should you find yourself needing an emergency kit, we offer various options to best suit your needs. Contact us today to discuss your earthquake preparedness.

biography
David Scott
David co-founded LifeSecure in 2005, just a few months before Hurricane Katrina taught everyone that one can go hungry and thirsty in America and even die before help arrives. For over a decade David has focused on developing and discovering superior emergency and disaster survival solutions - kits and supplies. He has trained community groups in emergency preparedness, helped non-profit organizations prepare emergency kits for needy individuals, conducted community emergency response exercises, and developed emergency plans for non-profit organizations. David makes an ongoing study of how best to prepare for and respond to various natural and man-made disasters, and his mission has been to help others “live Life SECURE” every day by preparing for what may come someday.