Earthquake

An earthquake can last for seconds or minutes with multiple aftershocks. Earthquakes can cause buildings and bridges to collapse — and trigger avalanches, flash floods, fires, landslides, or tsunamis.

See how to determine your risk, prepare your family, learn about your building code, and identify ways to strengthen your home against earthquakes.

Make a plan for what to do before, during, and after the next earthquake

Before

Before an earthquake, secure your home contents, make a disaster plan, and assemble a disaster supply kit. Prioritize water since earthquakes can disrupt supply or purification.

Contact your insurance company for an annual checkup to ensure you understand your policy and have adequate coverage. If you have an older home, strengthen it with retrofits to withstand shaking.

To prepare your business or organization for an earthquake, download the free Ready Business QuakeSmart Toolkit and watch the videos to kickstart your planning.

During

While inside during an earthquake, stay away from doorways and Drop, Cover, and Hold On.

If you are outside, get into the open — away from buildings, power lines, chimneys, and anything else that might fall on you.

After

Danger from an earthquake isn’t over once the shaking stops. If you are in a damaged building, go outside and move away. Do not enter damaged buildings. Don’t use matches, lighters, barbecues, electrical equipment, or appliances until you are sure there are no gas leaks.

Take photos of property damage and file a claim with your insurance company. Plan to repair and rebuild resiliently to prevent damage from future earthquakes.

Get customized recommendations to protect your home.

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Top Earthquake-Resilient Retrofits and Upgrades

Brace Cripple Walls and Bolt Stem Walls
Brace Cripple Walls and Bolt Stem Walls
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How to Secure Chimneys and Fireplaces in an Earthquake
Secure Chimneys and Fireplaces
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Secure Your Furniture, Appliances, and Electronics
Secure Your Furniture, Appliances, and Electronics
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Install an Automatic Gas Shut-off Valve
Install an Automatic Gas Shut-Off Valve
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Install Flexible Hoses to Gas and Water Lines
Install Flexible Hoses on Gas and Water Lines
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Free or Low-Cost Things You Can Do Right Now to Prepare for Earthquakes

Build a Disaster Supply Kit
Build a Disaster Supply Kit
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Make a Home Inventory
Create an Insurance Home Inventory
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Get an Insurance Checkup
Get an Insurance Checkup
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Make a Family Disaster Plan
Make a Family Disaster Plan
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Participate in the Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drill
Participate in the Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drill
Learn More

We’re here to help you before, during, and after a disaster

The Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH) — a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization — is the leading consumer advocate for strengthening homes and safeguarding families from natural and manmade disasters.

Buyer’s Guide to Resilient Homes

This guide helps homeowners and homebuyers understand their resilience options.

National Disaster Resilience Conference

This annual conference brings together the nation’s leading voices in disaster safety.

No Code No Confidence – Inspect2Protect

Inspect2Protect will help you understand the building code where you live.

Protect Your Contents - Secure Your Space

Protect Your Contents - Secure Your Space

How to Secure Furniture for an Earthquake

How to Secure Furniture for an Earthquake

Is Your Groovy Home Earthquake Ready?

Is Your Groovy Home Earthquake Ready?

How to Prevent Post Earthquake Fires

How to Prevent Post Earthquake Fires

How to Secure Hanging Artwork for an Earthquake

How to Secure Hanging Artwork for an Earthquake

Learn About Earthquakes

Should I run outside during an earthquake?

In most cases, you should not run outside during an earthquake as there may be falling debris, broken glass, or other hazards that could cause injury.

If you are indoors, drop to the ground, take cover under a sturdy piece of furniture (such as a desk or table), and hold on until the shaking stops. If you are in bed, stay there and cover your head with a pillow. Protect your head and neck with your arms.

If you are outdoors, move to an open area away from buildings, trees, or other structures that could collapse or fall. If you are in a vehicle, pull over to a clear place and stay inside with your seat belt fastened until the shaking stops.

Remember, it is not safe to run outside during an earthquake in almost all cases. Instead, follow the recommended safety procedures based on your location and circumstances.

Can animals predict earthquakes?

While current research is inconclusive, some anecdotal evidence suggests that animals may be able to sense changes in the Earth’s crust or electromagnetic activity before an earthquake.

Dogs barking incessantly, birds flying away en masse, and fish jumping out of the water are just a few examples of unusual behavior observed before the ground shakes. That said, it is difficult to determine whether these behaviors predict earthquakes or are simply coincidental.