Before an Earthquake
Prepare an emergency kit of food, water and supplies including a flashlight, portable battery-operated radio, batteries, medicines, first aid kit, money and clothing.
Know the safe spots in each room--under sturdy tables or desks or against interior walls.
Know the danger spots--near windows, mirrors, hanging objects, fireplaces and tall, unsecured furniture.
Conduct practice drills so you and your family know the safe locations in your home.
Decide how and when your family will reunite if separated during a quake.
Choose an out-of-state friend or relative who family members can call after the quake to report their whereabouts and conditions.
Learn first aid and CPR (cardiopulminary resuscitation).
Learn how to shut off gas, water and electricity in case the lines are damaged. SAFETY NOTE: Do not attempt to relight the gas pilot. Call the utility company.
Check chimneys, roofs, walls and foundations for stability. Make sure your house is bolted to its foundation.
Secure your water heater and major appliances as well as tall, heavy furniture, hanging plants, mirrors and picture frames--especially those over beds.
Keep breakables, heavy objects, flammable liquids such as paints, pest sprays and cleaning products, in secured cabinets or on lower shelves.
Organize your neighborhood to be self-sufficient after a quake.
During an Earthquake
If indoors, stay there. Get under a desk or table or stand in a corner.
If outdoors, get into an open area away from trees, buildings, walls and power lines.
If in a high-rise building, stay away from windows and outside walls. Get under a table. Do not use elevators.
If driving, pull over to the side of the road and stop. Avoid overpasses and power lines. Stay inside your car until the shaking is over.
If in a crowded public place, do not rush for the doors. Crouch and cover your head and neck with your hands and arms.
After an Earthquake
Unless there is an immediate, life-threatening emergency, do not attempt to use the telephone. After a quake, be sure to:
Check for gas and water leaks, broken electrical wiring or sewage lines. If there is damage, turn the utility off at the source and immediately report gas leaks to your utility company. Check for downed power lines; warn others to stay away from them.
Check your building for cracks and damage, including the roofs, chimneys and foundation.
Turn on your portable radio for instructions and news reports. For your own safety, cooperate fully with public safety officials and follow instructions.
Do not use your vehicle unless there is an emergency. Keep the streets clear for emergency vehicles.
Be prepared for aftershocks.
Stay calm and lend a hand to others.
If you evacuate, leave a message at your home telling family members and others where you can be found.
Can You Go It Alone for Three Days?
The first 72 hours after an earthquake are critical. Electricity, gas, water and telephones may not be working. In addition, public safety services such as police and fire departments will be busy handling serious crises. You should be prepared to be self-sufficient--able to live without running water, electricity and/or gas, and telephones--for at least three days following a quake. To do so, keep the following items on hand in a central location:
Food. Enough for 72 hours, preferably one week.
Water. Enough so each person has a gallon a day for 72 hours, preferably one week. Store in airtight containers and replace it every six months. Store disinfectants such as iodine tablets or chlorine bleach, eight drops per gallon, to purify water if necessary.
First aid kit. Make sure it's well-stocked with bandages and disinfectants.
Fire extinguisher. Your fire extinguisher should be suitable for all types of fires. Teach all family members how to use it.
Flashlights with extra batteries. Keep flashlights beside your bed and in several other locations. DO NOT use matches or candles after an earthquake unless you are certain there are no gas leaks.
Portable radio with extra batteries. Most telephones will be out of order or limited to emergency use. The radio will be your best source of information.
Extra blankets, clothing, shoes and money.
Alternate cooking sources. Store a barbecue or camping stove for outdoor camping. CAUTION: Ensure there are no gas leaks before you use any kind of fire, and do not use charcoal indoors.
Special items. Have at least a week's supply of medications and food for infants and those with special needs. Don't forget pet food.
Tools. Have an adjustable or pipe wrench for turning off gas and water.