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What to Do Before an Earthquake


Earthquakes cannot be predicted so it is important to prepare yourself as soon as possible:

  • Become aware of fire evacuation and earthquake plans for all of the buildings you occupy regularly.


  • Pick safe places in each room of your home, workplace and/or school. A safe place could be under a piece of furniture or against an interior wall away from windows, bookcases or tall furniture that could fall on you.


  • Practice drop, cover and hold on in each safe place. If you do not have sturdy furniture to hold on to, sit on the floor next to an interior wall and cover your head and neck with your arms.


  • Keep a flashlight and sturdy shoes by each person's bed.


  • Make sure your home is securely anchored to its foundation.


  • Bolt and brace water heaters and gas appliances to wall studs.


  • Bolt bookcases, china cabinets and other tall furniture to wall studs.


  • Hang heavy items, such as pictures and mirrors, away from beds, couches and anywhere people sleep or sit.


  • Brace overhead light fixtures.



  • Install strong latches or bolts on cabinets. Large or heavy items should be closest to the floor.


  • Learn how to shut off the gas valves in your home and keep a wrench handy for that purpose.


  • Learn about your area's seismic building standards and land use codes before you begin new construction.