Earthquake Preparation: What to Do Before, During and After a Quake

Preparing for an Earthquake

EMERGENCY KIT ESSENTIALS

(Source: https://www.ready.gov/build-a-kit)

  • Three gallons of water per person. 
  • Three days worth of non-perishable food. If you have canned goods, make sure to include a can opener in your kit. 
  • Any prescription medications or prescription eyewear. 
  • Copies of important documents including birth certificates, passports, insurance cards, etc. 
  • Emergency fund in either cash or travelers checks. ATMs and banks may not be available, and this fund will last longer than just relying on whatever’s in your wallet. 
  • Make sure to pack a change of pants and long sleeve shirts, but don’t use up too much of your kit’s space on clothes. Also make sure that everyone has access to thick-soled shoes. 
  • A battery powered radio and extra batteries, wi-fi may not be available and government officials will be using radio stations to communicate evacuation zones and other important information. 
  • At least one emergency whistle for everyone to communicate their location after the earthquake is finished. 
  • Keep a flashlight in your kit and near your bed in the event of an earthquake happening at night. 
  • Pack a wrench in your emergency kit as well to shut off home utilities if you are evacuating. 

WORK

(Source: https://www.ready.gov/build-a-kit)

  • You should also have a kit prepared in your workplace that can get you through the first 24 hours after an emergency. 
  • This kit can be smaller than your home kit, with food and water, comfortable shoes, and any essential medications, stored in a small bag. 

HOME

(Source: https://www.ready.gov/make-a-plan)

  • Secure any heavy objects such as a television or a bookcase to the wall so that they won’t fall in an earthquake. Ensure that cabinets have latches that will prevent them from swinging open during the earthquake. 
  • Make sure any fragile items such as wine glasses or plates are stored on a low shelf to avoid any falling debris. 
  • Set a meeting spot nearby for everyone in your house to meet, and establish an out of state contact for everyone to reach out to. This should be a location away from the immediate area and one that can be easily accessed by anyone in your home. 
  • Register with AlertOC, the official alert notification system in Orange County. If you are in an evacuation zone, city officials will notify you via cell phone or email, but if you are not registered they will attempt to contact you through your landline. https://member.everbridge.net/index/453003085613900#/signup
  • Make sure your family and especially children know the Drop, Cover, and Hold-On training. Include games or some other form of entertainment for children in your emergency kit if possible.

CHILDREN

(Source: https://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/20130726-1452-20490-2572/fema-240.pdf)

  • Make sure that any children in the home know the Drop, Cover, and Hold-On training to keep them safe during an earthquake. 
  • If you have children that need diapers or other daily essentials, make sure to add those to your emergency kit. 
  • Run drills to make sure your children know how to respond in the event of an earthquake hitting the house. 
  • Go over any plans made with your children, including who they should contact in the event of an emergency and what will happen if they need to evacuate. 
  • Move heavy objects to lower shelves in case they could fall, and look through your house for any other potential earthquake risks. 

PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES OR MEDICAL ISSUES

(Source: https://www.ready.gov/individuals-access-functional-needs)

  • Establish a support network who know where your emergency medications are kept as well as your emergency kit. If emergency medications are kept in a locked container, make sure these people have access.
  • Establish pre-determined methods of communicating in the event of a disaster, with the assumption that phones may not be viable.
  • Plan ahead to have specialized transport ready in the event of an emergency. 
  • If you require equipment to communicate, consider having an alternative method in case that equipment is damaged, such as a deck of cards with phrases or pictures.
  • If you need dialysis or other regular medical treatment, make sure to have a map of multiple nearby facilities in case your usual provider is closed.
  • If you have a service animal, make sure it has an ID tag and/or microchip. Non-service animals will not be admitted to most emergency shelters and must have preparations made.

PETS

(Source: https://www.ready.gov/animals)

  • If you have pets, remember they will need their own food and water supply for three days. 
  • Consider purchasing an animal carrier or crate that you can use to help move your pets quickly. 
  • Locate a nearby animal hospital or veterinarian and add their contact card to your emergency kit in case your pets suffer any injuries during the fire. 
  • Consider packing a stress-relieving toy or collar for your pet to help them through the earthquake. 
  • Many emergency shelters will not accept pets in a disaster, and animal shelters will fill up quickly after an earthquake, so reach out to nearby pet-friendly hotels and motels in advance to see if your pets can qualify, especially if you have more than one. 
  • Also make sure to keep your pet’s medical records in your emergency kit, as most veterinarians will require them. 
  • If your pet has a microchip, make sure to keep your contact info up to date, and consider making the emergency contact someone outside of your area for your animal’s safety. 
  • While some cities are covered under Orange County Animal Care, cities within the county are given the option to choose their own animal service provider. Contact your city to learn what options there are for you and your pets. http://www.ocpetinfo.com/about  

VEHICLE

(Source: https://www.ready.gov/car)

  • In the event of an emergency where you are not at home, there are several items that should be kept in your car to help you evacuate or make it to your home. 
  • Store a set of jumper cables
  • Car cell phone charger-Cell phones and other electronic devices may be useful, but will lose power quickly with constant use in a disaster. Make sure you have a way to recharge them. 
  • Keep your gas tank as full as possible, and never let it go beneath a quarter of a tank. Gas stations may be inaccessible in an emergency, and it will lessen the time needed to get to a safe location. 
  • Make sure to also keep a flashlight, extra batteries, and other emergency kit items in your car in case you can’t reach your emergency kit. 

During an Earthquake

(Source: https://www.ready.gov/earthquakes)

  • If you are in a car, pull over and avoid stopping near any trees, power lines, buildings, or freeway overpasses if possible. 
  • If you are in bed, stay there. 
  • If you are inside a building when the shaking starts, shelter in your location, do not run outside during the earthquake. 
  • Do not shelter in a doorway as falling and flying objects can still hit you, and you most likely won’t be able to stay standing during the earthquake. 
  • If you are outside, try to avoid any power lines, buildings, or streetlights, then Drop, Cover, and Hold On. If you cannot reach a place away from these, attempt to locate nearby shelter. 
  • Drop, Cover, and Hold on https://www.shakeout.org/dropcoverholdon/
  • Drop: Drop down to your hands and knees in the middle of an earthquake to avoid the quake itself knocking you over. 
  • Cover: Cover your head and neck with your arms to protect yourself from any falling object, and if shelter is available such as a desk or table, crawl along the floor to reach it. 
  • Hold On: Once you’ve reached a sturdy covering, hold on to it until the shaking stops.

After an Earthquake

INFORMATION IN THE MOMENT

  • In the event of an evacuation, Orange County officials will send out an alert through AlertOC, an optional program that will send a message to your cell phone and/or email in the event your home is in the path of a fire. 
  • If you have access to a working television, local news stations will also be used for disseminating information.  
  • Make sure to follow @OrangeCountyEOC on Twitter for information on earthquakes and other natural disasters in Orange County.

ROAD CONDITIONS

(Source: https://www.ready.gov/earthquakes)

  • If the earthquake has downed power lines, do not approach them. If one has landed on your car, do not attempt to move it. 
  • Do not travel on freeway overpasses or bridges until they have been deemed safe as they may have suffered structural damage during the quake.

AFTERSHOCKS

(Source: https://www.ready.gov/earthquakes)

  • Aftershocks with any earthquake are likely, so be prepared for further earthquakes over the next several hours and days. 

BUILDING CONDITIONS

(Source: https://www.ready.gov/earthquakes)

  • If you are in a building that has sustained structural damage, move outside and away from the building. 
  • If you are in a building with an elevator, do not use the elevator. Find the stairs and move outside calmly if the building has suffered structural damage. 
  • If you are trapped in a building, refer to the guide below. 

TRAPPED RESPONSE

(Source: https://www.ready.gov/earthquakes)

  • If you are trapped by rubble after an earthquake, do not move around or disturb the area. 
  • If you have a cellphone, call or text someone for help, and make sure to reach out to multiple people in case your first contact either does not have their phone or it was damaged. 
  • If you have a whistle, use that so first responders can determine your location. If not, tap on a pipe or wall to try to signal for help. 

MEDICAL TREATMENT

(Source: https://www.ready.gov/earthquakes)

  • Check yourself for any injuries immediately after a disaster and help those around you if you have training. 
  • Assist with rescues as long as you are not putting yourself at risk. 

CLEANUP

(Source: https://www.ready.gov/earthquakes)

  • Be cautious with your clean up, and do not attempt to move heavy debris on your own. 
  • Be sure to wear pants, a long sleeve shirt, work gloves, and thick-soled shoes while combing through debris.