What to do Before  and During an Earthquake

An earthquake is a sudden, rapid shaking of the earth caused by the shifting of rock beneath the earth’s surface. They strike without warning, at any time of year, day or night. Forty-five U.S. states and territories are at moderate to very high risk of earthquakes.

Learn what to do to keep your loved ones safe.

Before an Earthquake Happens

— Talk about earthquakes with your family so that everyone knows what to do in case of an earthquake. Discussing ahead of time helps reduce fear, particularly for younger children

— Check at your workplace and your children's schools and day care centers to learn about their earthquake emergency plans.

— Pick safe places in each room of your home, workplace and/or school. A safe place could be under a piece of furniture or against an interior wall away from windows, bookcases or tall furniture that could fall on you.

— Practice DROP, COVER and HOLD ON with all members of your household.

— Doorways are no stronger than any other part of a structure so don’t rely on them for protection! During an earthquake, get under a sturdy piece of furniture and hold on.

During an Earthquake (Indoors)

— DROP, COVER and HOLD ON! Move as little as possible - most injuries during earthquakes occur because of people moving around, falling and suffering sprains, fractures and head injuries.

— If you are in bed, stay there, curl up and hold on, and cover your head.

— Stay indoors until the shaking stops and you are sure it is safe to exit. If you must leave a building after the shaking stops, use stairs rather than an elevator in case of aftershocks, power outages or other damage.

— Be aware that smoke alarms and sprinkler systems frequently go off in buildings during an earthquake, even if there is no fire.

— If you smell gas, get out of the house and move as far away as possible.

During an Earthquake (Outdoors)

— Find a clear spot and drop to the ground. Stay there until the shaking stops.

— Try to get as far away from buildings, power lines, trees, and streetlights as possible.

— After the shaking has stopped, drive on carefully, avoiding bridges and ramps that may have been damaged.

— If a power line falls on your vehicle, do not get out. Wait for assistance.

source: American Red Cross

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