How to Prepare For an Earthquake

  1. Have an emergency plan prepared and practiced with your family. Select a safe place outside of your home to meet your family or housemates after the earthquake occurs. Provide all family members with a list of important contact phone numbers. Be prepared by having an emergency card filled out and ready for your household. For a printable emergency card, click here.

  2. Have an emergency kit prepared. See the Disaster Kit Preparedness tab for more information.
  3. Practice drop, cover, and hold on. For information on how to drop, cover, and hold on if you are near a sturdy desk or table, click here. For information on how to drop, cover, and hold on if you are not near a sturdy desk or table, click here. For information on how to drop, cover, and hold on if you are in a bed, click here. For every room in your home, locate the safest place to take cover. It can be under a sturdy table or on an inside wall away from glass, books, and shelving units. Make sure that nothing can fall on your head.
  4. Anchor heavy furniture and appliances to the wall. For information on how to do that, click here. Remove all heavy objects from shelves as they will fall and potentially cause injury.
  5. Keep shoes and a working flashlight next to each bed.
  6. Learn how to shut off the gas and electricity in your home. Gas and electricity are hazards which must be shut off in the event of a major earthquake. Make sure that tools are in an accessible location. For information on shutting off gas, click here. For information on shutting off electricity, click here.
  7. Teach everyone in your household to use emergency whistles and/or to knock three times repeatedly if trapped. Rescuers are trained to listen for such sounds.
  8. Identify the needs of household members and neighbors with special requirements or situations, such as use of a wheelchair, walking aids, special diets, or medication.
  9. Consider getting trained through a CPR/First Aid/AED class to:
    • administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and First Aid to adults, infants, and children, and
    • learn how to operate an Automated External Defibrillator (AED).

  10. Learn how to operate a Type ABC fire extinguisher using the PASS (pull, aim, squeeze, sweep) method. For information on the PASS method, click here.
  11. Install and test (twice a year) combination smoke alarm/carbon monoxide detectors.  Nowadays, newer detectors don’t require you to change the batteries periodically.

Additional training to consider:

  • Community Emergency Response Training (CERT)
  • Amateur radio (HAM) training/certification

How to Prepare For a Fire

  1. Install the right number of smoke alarms. Test them once a month and replace the batteries at least once a year. For more information, click here.
  2. Teach children what smoke alarms sound like and what to do when they hear one. For a simulated smoke alarm sound, click here.
  3. Ensure that all household members know two ways to escape from every room of your home and know the family meeting spot outside of your home. For more information, click here.
  4. Establish a family emergency communications plan and ensure that all household members know who to contact if they cannot find one another.
  5. Practice escaping from your home at least twice a year. Press the smoke alarm test button or yell “Fire“ to alert everyone that they must get out.
  6. Make sure everyone knows how to call 9-1-1.
  7. Teach household members to stop, drop, and roll if their clothes should catch on fire. For more information, click here.
  8. Learn how to operate a Type ABC fire extinguisher using the PASS (pull, aim, squeeze, sweep) method. For information on the PASS method, click here.
  9. Install and test (twice a year) combination smoke alarm/carbon monoxide detectors.  Nowadays, newer detectors don’t require you to change the batteries periodically.

How to Prepare For a Flood

For full information on preparing for a flood, click here.