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Did you know that during a major earthquake you may be without utilities for weeks or even months?


• Make an escape plan and build a kit.

• Identify safe places in each room of your home, workplace and/or school. A safe place could be under a piece of sturdy furniture or against an interior wall away from windows, bookcases or tall furniture that could fall on you.

• Practice “drop, cover and hold on” in each safe place. If you do not have sturdy furniture to hold on to, sit on the floor next to an interior wall, and cover your head and neck with your arms.

• Keep a flashlight and sturdy shoes by your bed in case an earthquake strikes in the middle of the night.

• Make sure your home is securely anchored to its foundation.

• Bolt and brace water heaters and gas appliances to wall studs.

• Bolt bookcases, china cabinets and other tall furniture to wall studs.

• Hang heavy items, such as pictures and mirrors, away from beds, couches and anywhere people sleep or sit.

• Brace overhead light fixtures.

• Install strong latches or bolts on cabinets. Large or heavy items should be close to the floor.

• Learn how to shut off the gas valves in your home and keep a wrench handy for that purpose.

• Learn about your area’s seismic building standards and land use codes before you begin new construction.


If you are inside when the shaking starts

• Drop, cover and hold on. Move as little as possible.

• If you are in bed, stay there, curl up and hold on. Protect your head with a pillow. Don’t try to get under your bed.

• Stay away from windows to avoid being injured by shattered glass.

• Stay indoors until the shaking stops and you are sure it is safe to exit. When it is, use stairs rather than an elevator in case there are aftershocks, power outages or other damage.

• Be aware that fire alarms and sprinkler systems frequently go off in buildings during an earthquake, even if there is no fire, but take appropriate precautions if an alarm sounds.


If you are outside when the shaking starts

• Find a clear spot (away from buildings, power lines, trees, streetlights, etc.) and drop to the ground. Stay there until the shaking stops.

• If you are in a vehicle, pull over to a clear location, and stop. Avoid bridges,  overpasses and power lines if possible. Stay inside your vehicle with your seatbelt fastened until the shaking stops. Then, if you can, drive carefully, avoiding bridges and ramps that may have been damaged.

• If a power line falls on your vehicle, do not get out. Wait for assistance.

• If you are in a mountainous area or near unstable slopes or cliffs, be alert for falling rocks and other debris. 

• Landslides are often triggered by earthquakes.


• After an earthquake, the disaster may continue. Expect and prepare for potential aftershocks, landslides or even a tsunami. 

• Look for and extinguish small fires. Fire is the most common hazard after an earthquake. 

• Each time you feel an aftershock, be sure to drop, cover and hold on. Aftershocks frequently occur minutes, days, weeks and even months following an earthquake.

• Check yourself for injuries and get first aid, if necessary, before helping injured or trapped persons.

• Put on long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, sturdy shoes and work gloves to protect against injury from broken objects.

• Look quickly for damage in and around your home, and evacuate everyone if your home is unsafe.

• Listen to local radio or television stations for the latest emergency information.

• Check to see if telephones are working. Make brief calls to report life threatening emergencies.

• Use text messaging to communicate with friends and family members.

• Clean up spilled medications, bleach, gasoline or other flammable liquids immediately.


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