Earthquakes often occur without warning and can be extremely destructive. Earthquakes can range from gentle shakers to ones that cause nearly total destruction. Earthquakes can be especially devastating due to:

  • Falling debris and collapsed buildings
  • Damaged or severed water, gas, and sewer lines
  • Fires resulting for other infrastructure damage
  • Damaged or collapsed infrastructure, roads, and bridges
  • Tsunamis
  • Damaged communications lines & towers

After an earthquake inspect your area and shut off damaged utilities. Know how to shutoff your water/gas lines and electrical panel.

  • Have an evacuation route planned in case of tsunami.
  • Phone circuits will probably be overwhelmed so use short text messages as sparingly as possible.
  • Wear sturdy shoes and watch for glass and other hazards since buildings, roads, and power lines could be damaged.
  • Try to put out small fires that can quickly turn into very large fires.
  • Do NOT use any electrical equipment or do anything that could generate sparks if you smell gas (should smell like rotten eggs).
  • Check gas, water, and electrical lines for damage and shut off damaged lines.
  • Inspect the building and consider evacuating if there is structural damage.
  • Do not use your fireplace until you are certain that the appliance, gas lines, and chimney are safe.
  • Roads may be clogged and/or damaged — only use your vehicle if it is an emergency.
  • Expect aftershocks. Normally aftershocks are smaller in magnitude than the original earthquake but this is not always the case. If buildings or infrastructure was weakened by a previous earthquake then even a smaller aftershock could do considerable damage.
  • Walk at a distance from the sides of buildings, especially brick buildings. Watch for falling debris.

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