What to do Before, During, and After an Earthquake


Before the Quake

Develop a family earthquake plan. Prepare yourself, your family and your home by completing the activities on this checklist. Decide how and where your family will reunite if separate. Choose an out-of-state friend or relative that separated family members can call after the quake to report their whereabouts and condition. Conduct practice drills. Physically place yourself in safe locations. Keep a list of emergency phone numbers

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Emergency Food Supplies


As part if your preparations for an earthquake you should prepare an emergency food supply that will last each individual several days or as much as a week. Use foods that your family likes. Canned foods, dry mixes, dehydrated fruit, etc. that are normally used will do just fine. Try for a balance meal approach. Don’t forget a manual can opener in the event of a power outage. Foods stored in dark, cool areas lasts longer. Rotate food items from storage at least once or twice a year to avoid spoilage and keep freshness. It may be helpful to write the date on the items the day they were stored.


Packing food for Burning ManPerishable foods such as milk, meats, etc. that are normally stored under refrigeration will spoil quickly without it. If still cold, these foods should be used first. Foods in freezers can last several days without power if the door is not opened frequently.


If perishable foods lose refrigeration and become warm, DO NOT USE. Bacteria grows rapidly without refrigeration, and may cause food poisoning.

If canned foods have been damaged and are bulging or leaking, DO NOT USE.

DO NOT USE food from open containers where broken glass is present, have or where household chemicals have spilled.

Unsealed containers and those that have been punctured by rodents or have rodent droppings should NOT be used.

There are several reputable suppliers of prepared emergency food supplies for individuals, families and business. Check your Yellow Pages for a distributor nearest you.


Modified from: San Mateo County Department of Health Services

How To Make a Family Earthquake Plan

Family Earthquake Plan

Plan Responsibilities

There will be many things to take care of after a severe earthquake. Make plans with family, friends, and neighbors, assigning specific responsibilities to each person. Talk about the possibilities that may occur and develop plans for assisting those in greater need. Remember that it may be difficult to get around after an earthquake, so each person’s task needs to be related to where he or she may be and what they are capable of doing. It is also very important to do earthquake drills regularly.

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Look Duck Cover Hold

Look Duck Cover Hold

When you feel an earthquake, the first thing to do is LOOK. Look around! Look above! See what could hurt you, what could save you from injury. Get your bearings on your next move. Find cover and DUCK under a desk or sturdy table. Stay away from windows, bookcases, file cabinets, heavy mirrors, hanging plants, and other heavy objects that could fall. Watch out for falling plaster or ceiling tiles. Stay underCOVER until the shaking stops. HOLD onto the desk or table. If it moves, move with it.

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Earthquake Survival Kit in a Can

Survival in a Can

Here is a simple way to begin your home preparedness plan.
Fill a plastic container with enough supplies to last you or your family for 72 hours.

Supplies for your grab-and-go bag

Choose a Container

Plastic containers come in all shapes and sizes, they’re water and rodent proof, and are fairly durable. Choose the size that suits you needs. Be sure container comes with a securing lid.

Top of Container:

2 quarts of water per person per day in durable containers, flashlight, portable
radio, first aid kit, first aid book, blankets or sleeping bags for each person, work gloves, dry chemical fire extinguisher, clock or watch, and a crescent wrench for turning off the gas main.

Middle of Container:

Include food items like: juices, peanut butter, crackers, nuts, dried fruit or raisins, a change of clothing (one per person) including foul weather gear. For sanitary supplies, include diapers, bleach, paper towels, and toilet paper. Store miscellaneous supplies such as candles, matches or lighter, hand operated can opener, batteries (wrap- ped in plastic), pencils, marking pens, paper for leaving notes. You may also want to include a good book, a couple of magazines, newspaper, crossword puzzles, and some simple toys.

Bottom of Container:

Canned foods that are eatable warm or cold, and pet food; cooking utensils, including Sterno, stove, fuel, cooking pot, paper plates, aluminum foil and garbage bags; tools such as screw- drivers, pliers, hammer, rope, wire, duct tape etc.

Label the container EMERGENCY SUPPLIES, and place the it in a safe and easily accessible place.

Modified from: The American Red Cross

Automatic Gas Shut-Off Valves

Automatic Gas Shut-Of  Valves

If you live in earthquake prone regions and have gas service, you may be interested in investing in a earthquake gas shut-off valve. Although there are many designs, most use the ball method. Its concept is simple and a typical example is shown above. A metal ball on a pedestal opens a valve allowing gas to pass from the service (either a tank or a utility hook-up) to the house. When sufficient shaking occurs, the ball drops from the pedestal, closing the valve – shutting off the flow of gas.[Insert Valve Graphic here]

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Earthquake kits

The Need for an Earthquake Kit

Earthquakes can happen all over the world; all there needs to be is a fault line. The lack of earthquakes along a very prominent fault line, like the one in New York, causes much confusion in the science world. It is for this reason that scientists have been studying the causes of earthquakes for many years. Although scientists continue to research they are still unable to predict where or when an earthquake will occur.

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Review Post-Earthquake Plans

Review Post-Earthquake Plans

Check and Renew Provisions:

Check supply of emergency food and water. Check medication, first aid materials, for all members of the houshold including the children, handicapped and elderly. Replenish expired supplies of food, water medecine, fire extinguishers, and batteries.

Review Family Plans:

Review the responsibility of each familly member after an earthquake. Call the designated contact person outside the area to remind them of their role. Review plans to pick up children and check with schools or daycare centers to ensure the family plan in still appropriate.

Review Community Plans:

Contact your neighbors periodically to review earthquake plans. Contact your local Office of Emergency Services for an update on the local emergency plan.


These tips were developed by California’s Governor’s Office of Emergency Services.


How to Survive an Earthquake

 Survive an Earthquake

Before An Earthquake

Long before an earthquake hits, make a plan for your family as to where everyone should go and where to meet afterwards. Decorate your home appropriately by not hanging heavy mirrors or pictures over sleeping areas in bedrooms or behind couches, in case they are shaken off the wall. Stock up on earthquake emergency food supplies, including extra batteries, battery operated radios, flashlights, blankets, extra water and canned food and medical supplies. It is a good idea to stock tools to turn off gas and water valves as well as the electricity.

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