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Earthquakes - Getting Prepared

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Earthquakes - Getting Prepared 1713
TIP: Whether you are in your home, office, school or any other type of building, identify the safe spots and danger zones so you can protect yourself during an earthquake and it's after shocks.

Getting Prepared

  • Securely fasten water heaters and gas appliances.
  • Repair defective electrical wiring, leaky gas and inflexible utility connections.
  • Place large, heavy objects on lower shelves. Fasten shelves to walls. Brace tall and top-heavy objects.
  • Store bottles, glass, china and other breakables on low shelves or in cabinets that can be fastened shut- use earthquake putty.
  • Be sure the house is firmly anchored to its foundation.
  • Anchor overhead lighting fixtures.
  • Know how to shut off all utilities.
  • Locate safe spots in each room.
  • Identify danger zones in each room.

When the Shaking Stops

  • Check for injuries to yourself and those around you.
  • Keep flashlights in several easily accessed locations to use if the electricity goes out.
  • Keep sturdy shoes under your bed, and protective eyewear, face covering, leather gloves and a flashlight in your nightstand for easy access should a quake occur at night. Put on your protective gear before assessing damage.
  • If you smell gas or hear a hissing sound, open a window and leave the building. Shut off the main gas valve outside - keep the necessary tool nearby. If you turn off the gas for any reason, service should be restored by a professional.
  • If there is electrical damage, loose wiring, arcing, sparking or smoke, switch off the power at the main control panel.
  • If water pipes are damaged, shut off the water supply at the main valve.
  • Check your home for obvious structural damage, including the chimney.
  • Clean up bleach, gasoline and other flammable liquids.
  • Visually inspect utility lines and appliances for damage.
  • Do not flush toilets until you know that sewage lines are intact.
  • Open cabinets cautiously - beware of objects that may have shifted.
  • Use your phone only to report emergency conditions or for emergency assistance.
  • Text rather than call. A text will often go through when a call will not (only send emergency texts).
  • If possible, listen to news reports for the latest emergency information.
  • Stay off the streets unless travel is essential for your safety.
  • Stay away from damaged areas unless your assistance has been specifically requested by authorities.
  • Do not use candles, matches, camp stoves, generators, barbecues or open flames
► After an earthquake, be prepared for aftershocks and plan where you will take cover  when they occur. Aftershocks can occur over a period of weeks, months or years.