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Earthquake Preparedness

Earthquake Preparedness: Getting Ready For “The Big One”

While you probably know what to do during an earthquake, make sure you also know the proper steps to take beforehand to ensure you and your family are safe and prepared.

The recent California earthquakes have ratcheted up fears of additional earthquakes, including talk of the next “Big One.” While the U.S. Geographical Survey has reassured us that there is no need to panic, it’s always a good idea to check in with your family and make sure that you are prepared for whatever may come your way.

There are plenty of things that you can do to stay prepared and ready to protect yourself and your family if the situation arises. Review these suggestions with your family to make sure you’re prepared.


Make a family plan.

Talk with your family to establish a plan if another major earthquake occurs. Discuss the best places to take shelter — under sturdy furniture or against an inside wall, away from glass or unrestrained decorations — and determine where those places are in your home. Teach your children how and when to call 9-1-1, and make sure family members know how and when to turn off the gas and electricity. You can also ask an out-of-state friend or family member to serve as the “family contact,” should you be separated from your family. Make sure every family member knows the name, address and phone number of your family contact.

Check for hazards in your home.

Check for any cracks in your ceiling or foundation, and speak with an expert if your house shows any signs of structural problems. Make sure to fasten items like shelves and mirrors to your walls, hanging them in places where people don’t regularly sit. Store breakable items like glass and bottled containers on low cabinets with doors — preferably doors with latches. Flammable products and chemicals like weed killer and pesticides should also be stored on a low shelf in a latched cabinet.

Assemble an emergency kit.

It’s a good idea to have disaster supplies on hand in case an emergency like an earthquake does occur. Items in your preparedness kit should include:

  • Water
  • Non-perishable food
  • Flashlights and batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Important medications
  • Sturdy shoes

While earthquakes have been on the forefront of our minds here in California, there are other emergencies that you should also be prepared for. These tips — making a plan with your family, preparing a kit and checking your home for hazards — can apply to most any unexpected disaster. If an earthquake or other emergency does happen, you’ll be glad that you and your family are prepared to stay safe.


This article first appeared in the September 2019 edition of the HealthPerks newsletter.

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