Earthquake Safety Checklist

Earthquakes occur without warning and can happen at any time, in any area of the United States. Due to their unpredictable nature and the amount of damage they can cause, everyone should be prepared for an earthquake. Here is what you should do before, during and after an earthquake:

How to prepare:

  • Make an emergency kit that can last at least 3 days. Make sure the kit includes water, non-perishable food, and other essential items. Learn how to make an emergency kit here.
  • Make a family emergency communication plan. Establish a meeting place outside the home to ensure that everyone in the family knows where to meet each other in case you get separated.
  • Have your home or property inspected and make sure it’s earthquake resistant. Find out what criteria buildings should meet to be earthquake resistant here.
  • Check for loose items in your home that could fall, such as light fixtures, bookshelves, or mirrors. Secure these items firmly, so they don’t cause injuries during earthquakes.
  • Practice the “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” drill. Locate a sturdy piece of furniture or an interior wall that you can quickly reach. Get under the furniture or near the interior wall, drop to the ground and cover your head and neck with your arms. Practice often to be able to react quickly.

During the earthquake:

  • If you’re inside a building, drop, cover and hold on:
    • Stay where you are and drop to the ground (on your hands and knees).
    • Cover your head and neck with your arms.
    • Crawl under a sturdy desk or table (or get to a corner or an interior wall).
    • Hold on to any sturdy covering and wait until the earthquake stops.
  • Never go outside, as you might get hit by falling debris on your way out.
  • Stay away from windows, glass, doors and any objects that might fall, such as light fixtures.
  • Contrary to popular belief, you shouldn’t get in a doorway, since it doesn’t provide enough protection from flying objects. You might also fall down and get injured if you stay in a doorway.
  • If you are outside, move away from buildings, streetlights, and utility wires, then drop, cover and hold on, as described above. In the city, you might need to get inside a building to stay safe.
  • If you are in a moving vehicle, stop the car safely, but avoid parking near trees or buildings. Stay inside the car until the shaking is over.

When the shaking stops:

  • If you are inside a building, locate a safe exit. Get out and stay away from damaged structures.
  • If you are trapped, don’t move and use your cell phone if you have on with you. Wait for rescuers to come for you. Whistle or tap on a pipe or wall to help them locate you.
  • If you are in car, drive carefully and avoid damaged roads or bridges.

Home fires and flooding are also disasters everyone should prepare for. Learn how to make a fire escape plan here and how to protect your home from flooding here. For professional fire, water and mold restoration services, contact your local PuroClean office.

PuroClean is a leading commercial and residential restoration franchising company.  Founded in 2001, the company offers fire and water cleanup and restoration services, mold mitigation and remediation, and biohazard cleanup and removal throughout the United States and Canada through its franchise network of 240 offices. Learn more.