Things to check or prepare before a earthquake -
1. Check your earthquake insurance policy. Property and valuables have gone up. Make sure you have
enough earthquake insurance coverage.
2. Make sure you have a wrench near your gas and water values. Many companies sell earthquake wrenches
that don't weather and can be place outdoors next to your gas and water values.
3. Do a check of things that would most likely fall in a earthquake. Anything top heavy with a high
center of gravity will most likely fall over. Move these items to lower shelves or fasten down with
metal straps, cleats, screws, velcro, or double face tape. These include Tall and thin HDTVs, bookcases, old
water heaters, things that are high on book selves, large and heavy pictures placed above your bed.
Earthquake proofing latches on cabinets that hold a lot of glass and china would be a good idea. The best
earthquake latches are made by a company from Japan. They can hold the doors closed when things fly.
4. Your garage is a dangerous place in a earthquake. Many garages have things placed in the rafters that can
fall. Also, a lot of flammable things like paint thinners and solvents are left on garage work benches with
their lids ajar or open. You should secure these items so they won't spill and cause a fire. Remember, in a
large earthquake most water mains will be broken and water won't be available after a quake.
5. Throw a old pair of tennis shoes in your car. You might have to walk home after a quake. Tennis
shoes are better to walk in than dress shoes.
6. Check your house, driveway, and garage for objects that could fall down and destroy your car. These
include chimneys, unreinforced walls, tall items, power poles/lines;etc.
7. Keep some water on hand for drinking. A few gallons for each person will keep you alive a couple of
8. Keep a battery radio or smartphone on hand and flashlights in each room.
9. Make a earthquake kit. A new trash can with lid is a good place to store items. Things to store in
it would be tools, freeze dried meals, water bottles, cutlery, enough food for your pets for a few days,
toilet paper, survival manual, work gloves, soap, first aid kit, clothes, blanket, portable radio,
wrench, screw driver, hammer, money and anything else you would need for the first 48-72 hours. Some people
even buy generators and store them in the garage for emergencies. They can keep their refrigerators,
tools, and candles if power is out for a week or more.
10. Also, after a huge quake, aftershocks will follow and be almost as big. You should immediately do
these things after you check to make sure the people in the house/building are safe. First, if your car
is not damaged, move it away from things that could fall on it. These include the garage, light poles,
brick fireplaces, houses, trees, walls, buildings, and other structures. If your car is in a parking
garage, don't risk going in get your car out. Next, move cloths, cooking gear, water, containers, food,
camping gear, sleeping bags, reading glasses, medicine, camp gear, tent, stove, tools and valuables out
of your damaged house/garage and to a safe place away from fallen power lines. If your house and garage
is damaged, the next aftershock could take them down. Also, water will be scarce after a earthquake.
You will need to save as much drinking water that you can. Each toilet in your house has a reservoir
tank of about two gallons of clean water in it. DO NOT use your toilet after a HUGE earthquake, the
water mains will be broken and you need that water. Use your garden hose to siphon it into plastic
containers and water bottles. Your water heater tank is another source of water you can tap.
Things to check after a quake -
1. Check family members/pets in house. Call out and don't walk to them. Broken glass and items blocking
your way will be all over the house floors.
2. If it is night. Find flashlight and shoes first before walking around. Make sure you are not in danger
before getting up. Items may have fallen in the house that could cause a threat. Example: If your house
has a large aquarium, it might have now fallen over and flooded the house.
3. If the quake was a very large, check for damage. Check for gas smell first and shut off main value
if you smell gas. Check for things that are partially fallen and secure them. There will most likely be
aftershocks that will complete the task of dislodging items.
4. Be very careful opening up cabinets and your refrigerator. Many items will be broken and loose and
will fall out on you.
5. Unplug items that have fallen - TVs, stereos, microwaves, computers; etc.
6. Check for structure damage. Walls, door frames, cracks, chimneys, pool, windows, car, gas, water,
electric, phone. If your windows are cracked, you might want to tape them with duct tape to keep glass
from flying in a aftershock. If they are broken, knock out any loose glass that could fly out in a
7. After a large quake most cellphone and landline service will be out. Listen to the portable or car radio
for information if TV and power are out.
8. If water is still on after a quake you might want to fill water bottles and tub for water. Most
likely water mains will have broken and you will lose pressure fast.
9. Check for anything that has fallen outside. This includes power-lines, power poles, walls, trees,
fireplaces, and hazardous structures.
10. Check neighbors and see if they are ok. If they are not home turn off their gas. The number one
threat after a quake is fires. Most water mains will be broken and no water will be available to fight
fires. If a house near yours catches on fire, it will spread.
11. Keep freezer and refrig closed. Power will be off and item will last longer if you don't open the
12. Check your water heater and toilets. Don't use or flush them. If the water mains are broken you
can use the water in the water heater and toilet reservoir tank until they get water trucked into your
area and the mains fixed. Pool and spa water can be used for washing water if you have access to them.
13. Move items away from your house or garage if structures are damaged. Move your car away from things
that can fall on it like fireplaces, walls, power poles, and garage.
14. If you are near the coast you should immediately head to higher ground and turn on your
radio/smartphone for news on any tsunami warning. If you are landslide hilly areas you should be wary of any
hillside movement or cracks.
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