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Are you ready for the big one? Earthquakes are unpredictable and can occur with little to no warning. That's why it is so important to make sure your family is prepared before an earthquake happens.
Be prepared before an earthquake
Secure the items in your home. Don't hang heavy items on the wall above areas where people sit or sleep. Place heavy and breakable items on lower shelves closest to the floor. Anchor tall, top-heavy objects like bookcases or water heaters to wall studs.
Create an emergency plan that accounts for every member of your family including pets. Identify a meeting place in case it is unsafe to return to your home, and designate an out-of-state contact to relay information in case you are separated. Be sure to practice your emergency plan with children.
Assemble your emergency kit with enough supplies to last at least 3 days. Depending on the severity of the earthquake, you could be trapped in your home without power or running water.
Know what to do when an earthquake hits.
Drop to your hands and knees, no matter where you are.
Cover your head and neck with your arms. If nearby, crawl under a desk or table or next to an interior wall away from windows.
If under sturdy furniture, hold on until the shaking stops. If not, hold your head and neck with both arms and hands.
Stay where you are until the shaking stops. Move as little as possible to minimize your chances of being injured by falling or being struck by falling debris.
If inside, stay inside. Do not run outside. If in bed, curl up, hold on, and cover your head and neck with a pillow.
If outside, stay outside. Do not run in a building. Try to move away from buildings or power lines. If you are near slopes or cliffs, look out for falling rocks or landslides.
If in a vehicle, pull over and stop. Try to stop in a clear area away from trees or overpass.
After the shaking stops, look to move to where it is safer. Check for debris and other dangers before entering any new area.
If you smell gas, exit the building and move far away.
Use the stairs. Do not use elevators.
Do not enter damaged buildings.
If in a vehicle, proceed carefully. Avoid bridges or ramps that may have been damaged.
Stay safe after an earthquake.
Expect aftershocks to occur in the following minutes, hours, and days. DROP, COVER and HOLD ON each time you feel an aftershock.
Check yourself for injuries. Get first aid treatment for yourself before attempting to help others.
Check the building for damage. If you are in a damaged building, evacuate and move far away. If you smell gas, evacuate and move far away.
Look for and extinguish small fires. Fires are a major problem after an earthquake. If you are away from home, do not return until you are told by authorities that it is safe to do so.
Listen to the radio for important safety information and updates. You can also monitor other channels, like social media, but beware of exhausting the battery of your mobile device.
Help others who need additional assistance. Don't attempt to provide assistance for which you do not have adequate training.
Be careful when attempting to clean up in the aftermath of an earthquake. Wear proper protective clothing, including protective eyewear, closed-toed shoes, long sleeves and pants, and gloves. Use caution when cleaning spills or broken glass. Don't attempt to move heavy debris on your own.
To learn more ways to prepare for an earthquake, visit the California Earthquake Authority. Download the MyShake-UC Berkeley Seismology app to receive early earthquake warnings.
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