What to Do in the Case of an Earthquake

Written by TheReadyExpert

When I think of an earthquake my mind goes to the life changing effects the San Francisco Earthquake had in 1906. The quake lasted only a minute, but was one of the worst natural disasters in the nation’s history. Everyone can be affected by an earthquake, even if they’re not located by a fault line. That’s why we recommend that everyone be ready for an earthquake regardless of their location. When preparing for any emergency, it’s important to be supplied with even the most basic tools for survival, (safe shelter, clean water and food.) Grab-n-Go supplies, including 72-hr-kits, food, and water, should also be kept in an easily accessible location at all times.

Know of a Safe Location

One of the most common ways people are injured during an earthquake is by falling objects. A good way to protect yourself from falling objects during an earthquake is to hide underneath something. It’s important to know where all the low sturdy furniture is in your home, work, or school. (Metal door frames, desks, sturdy, and low tables are ideal objects to get under.) If sturdy furniture is not available, be aware of an interior wall or hallway far from windows and potentially unstable furniture. It is essential to locate these areas before you are in an actual earthquake. Make sure that all family members know the best place to find shelter in each area of the house, at work, or at school.

Have a Game Plan

Make sure you have an out-of-state contact who you can call after the quake has passed to let them know your family’s condition. All family members and friends should know that in an event of a disaster, they should call this contact for an update on your condition. It is especially important for families with young children to practice what to do in the event of an earthquake. Make sure your family has a well thought out plan of action and decide upon a meeting area to go to when the earthquake is over. If you have young children and are unsure of the proper plan of action for your family, contact your local school or childcare center to get ideas on how to develop an appropriate strategy for staying safe.

Prepare Your Home

After preparing for your family’s safety, your home should be your next priority when developing a recovery plan. There are certain steps you can take to make your home more secure in the event of a disaster. If you don’t think you have time to execute these measures – make time.

  • Learn how to shut off gas, water and electricity in your home in case power lines are damaged.
  • Secure heavy furnishings. (Mirrors, large pictures, tall dressers or unattached shelving, etc.)
  • Secure your water heater and other appliances that could move and disrupt utility lines.
  • Store breakable and heavy objects on lower shelves. Also, use latches on cabinet doors.
  • Keep all flammable and hazardous liquids, such as paints, pest sprays and cleaning products, secured in low cabinets and shelves.
Updated May 22, 2009


  1. Preparedness Pro wrote:

    Are you familiar with the New Madrid faultline in the MS/TN area? While the San Francisco earthquake was devastating, there was a quake along the New Madrid fault in 1812 and it affected three times more square miles. http://tinyurl.com/d89ogd

    May 26th, 2009 at 2:45 pm
  2. Adolfo Allio wrote:

    Hello.This post was really interesting, particularly because I was searching for thoughts on this subject last Saturday.

    September 5th, 2012 at 2:50 pm

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