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An earthquake is a sudden, rapid shaking of the Earth caused by the breaking and shifting of rock beneath the Earth's surface. This shaking can cause buildings and bridges to collapse; disrupt gas, electric and phone service; and sometimes trigger landslides, avalanches, flash floods, fires and huge destructive ocean waves.
If the earthquake occurs in a populated area, it may cause deaths, injuries and extensive property damage. Here are some helpful tips to protect your family and your home.
Before an Earthquake Strikes:
- Plan and hold earthquake drills for your family.
- Choose a location where family members will meet if separated during the quake.
Make Your Home Safer:
- Strap water heaters, appliances and TVs to wall studs.
- Secure pictures, mirrors and ornaments to the wall with appropriate fasteners.
- Know where and how to shut off electricity, gas, and water services.
- Assemble disaster survival kits to last at least 72 hours for each person in the house.
- Check with local emergency managers for additional tips and safety training.
During an Earthquake:
- Keep calm. Expect the earthquake to last from a few seconds to a few minutes.
- If indoors, stay there until the shaking stops. Make sure to drop down to the floor and take cover under a sturdy piece of furniture or an interior wall. Hold onto the furniture and keep your position.
- If outdoors, move into an open area away from trees, buildings, utility wires, or signs. Stay in the open until the shaking stops.
After an Earthquake:
- Check for injuries.
- Don't move injured persons unless they are in immediate danger.
- Turn on your TV or radio for emergency information and instructions.
- Check utilities for gas and/or water leaks, or broken electrical connections.
- Be prepared to turn off utilities in the event they are damaged.
- Clean up medications, cleaning products, and/or flammable liquids.
- Check food and water supplies.
- Open cabinets carefully, to avoid objects falling out.