Earthquakes can happen any time of year and any time of day. In addition to knowing what to do during an earthquake, you should also know what to do before and after an earthquake occurs.
Here are some tips from FEMA:
Before an Earthquake
It is important for individuals, families, organizations, and communities to identify their risk, make a plan, create a disaster kit, and remove, relocate, or secure anything that can:
- Fall and hurt someone
- Fall and block an exit
- Fall and start a fire
- Require a lengthy or costly clean-up
During an Earthquake
DROP to the ground; take COVER by getting under a sturdy table or a stable piece of furniture; and HOLD ON until the shaking stops. If there isn’t a table or desk near you, cover your face and head with your arms and crouch in an inside corner of the building.
DO NOT RUN OUT OF THE BUILDING DURING THE SHAKING; AS DURING AN EARTHQUAKE, DEBRIS MAY FALL FROM THE BUILDING, WHICH CAN THEN LEAD TO SERIOUS INJURIES OR EVEN DEATH.
For more information, visit Ready.gov and Shakeout.
After an Earthquake
Safely evacuate. Please note that aftershocks could happen and if and when they do, they tend to occur in the first hours, days, weeks, or even months after the main earthquake has occurred. Aftershocks can be strong enough to do additional damage to already weakened structures; it's important to have a professional engineer or local building official inspect the structural integrity of your home and/or building for potential damages. This should also include:
- Inspecting your chimney for unnoticed damage that could lead to fires. Even a few cracks not obvious at first glance can create unsafe conditions the next time the fire place is used;
Earthquakes are unpredictable but like any natural disaster or unforeseen event, preparation is key!
- Checking for gas, electrical, sewer, and water line damages to avoid fire and hazardous leaks.