Earthquake Home DamageEarthquakes strike suddenly, violently and without warning. Identifying potential hazards ahead of time and advance planning can reduce the dangers of serious injury or loss of life from an earthquake.


  • Secure items that could fall during an earthquake: bookshelves, file cabinets, etc.
  • Create an Evacuation Plan:
    • Plan places where your family will meet, both within and outside of your immediate neighborhood.
    • If you have a car, keep a half tank of gas in it at all times in case you need to evacuate.
    • Become familiar with alternate routes and other means of transportation out of your area.
    • If you do not have a car, plan how you will leave if you have to.
  • Create an emergency supply kit, including food and water.


  • If you're indoors, duck and cover, preferably under a sturdy desk or table, or in a doorway. Avoid windows or any glass that could shatter.
  • If you're outdoors, an open area is best, clear of trees, power poles, power lines, tall buildings, or other objects that might fall.
  • If you're driving, find a safe place to pull off the road and stop.


  • Prepare for possible aftershocks.
  • If you smell natural gas, turn off the gas at the gas meter.
  • Check for injuries and provide First Aid, as needed.
  • If you need to evacuate:
    • Take your emergency supply kit unless you have reason to believe it has been contaminated.
    • Lock the door behind you.
    • Take your pets with you, but understand that only service animals may be permitted in public shelters. Plan how you will care for your pets in an emergency.
  • If time allows:
    • Call or email the "out-of-state" contact in your family communications plan. If phone systems are overwhelmed, text messages are an option.
    • Tell them where you are going.
    • If there is damage to your home and you are instructed to do so, shut off utilities (water, gas and electricity) before leaving.
    • Leave a note telling others when you left and where you are going.
    • Check with neighbors who may need a ride.

Visit the Emergency Preparedness main page and find out how you and your employees can be prepared for an emergency. You can also learn what to do in response to a specific disaster.