Earthquake Preparedness

Did you know that all 50 states and 5 U.S. territories are at some risk for earthquakes?  Earthquakes can happen at any time of the year.  Prepare your home today to protect yourself, your family, and your property in the event of an earthquake. recommends  that you take the following actions before an earthquake to prorect your family and home: 

  • To begin preparing, you should build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan;
  • Fasten shelves securely to walls;
  • Place large or heavy objects on lower shelves;
  • Store breakable items such as bottled foods, glass and china in low, closed cabinets with latches;
  • Mirrors, picture frames and other hanging items should be secured to the wall with closed hooks or earthquake putty.  Do not hang heavy objects over beds, sofas, or any place you may be seated;
  • Objects such as framed photos, books, lamps, and other items that you keep on shelves can become flying hazards.  Secure them with hooks, sdhesives, or earthquake putty to keep them in place;
  • Bookcases, filing cabinets, china cabinets, and other tall furniture should be anchored to wall studs (not drywall) or masonry.  Use flexible straps that allow them to sway without falling to the floor;
  • Electronics such as computers, televisions, and microwave ovens are heavy and expensive to replace.  Secure them with flexible nylon straps;
  • Brace overhead light fixtures and topo heavy objects;
  • repair defective electrical wiring and leaky gas connections.  these are potential fire hazards.  Get appropriate profesisonal help.  Do not work with gas or electrical lines yourself;
  • Install flexible pipe fittings to avoid gas or water leaks.  Flexible fittings are more resistant to breakage;
  • Secure your water heater, refrigerator, furnace and gas appliances by strapping them to the wall studs and bolting to the floor.  If recommended by your gas company, have an automatic gas shut-off valve installed that is triggered by strong vibrations;
  • Repair and deep cracks in ceilings or foundations.  Get expert advice if there are signs of structural defects;
  • Get professional help to assess the building;s structure and then take steps to install nonstructural solutions, including foundation bolts, bracing cripple walls, reinforcing chimneys, or installing an earthquake-resistant bracing system for a mobile home.  Examples of structures that may be more vunerable in an earthquake are those not anchored to their foundations or having weak crawl space walls, unbraced pier-and-post foundations, or unreinforced masonry walls or foundations.  Visit for guidance on nonstructural ways to reduce damage and earthquake resistant structural design or retrofit;
  • Store weed killers, pesticides, and flammable products securely in closed cabinets with latches and on bottom shelves;
  • Locate safe spots in each room under a sturdy table or against an inside wall.  Reinforce this information by moving to these places during each drill;
  • Hold earthquake drills with your family members.  Drop, cover and hold on!

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Developed by John Lyons - Application Developer III - Adjutant General's Department