Disaster Preparedness: Earthquake Disaster Plan

Earthquake Disaster Planning


What is an Earthquake?

An earthquake (sometimes called an earth tremor) is caused when there is a slip along a fault line. The earth’s tectonic plates are constantly moving and shifting and sometimes the tension builds to a breaking point, causing slippage along the fault line and resulting in an earthquake.

Earthquakes are truly terrifying natural disasters. They can happen anywhere, anytime, and wreak havoc on people and property alike. You may not realize this but the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) says that an astonishing 39 states in the United States are vulnerable to earthquakes.

Since so many people in the US are at risk, it is imperative that you have a disaster plan in place in case an earthquake strikes.


Earthquake Kits


In order to be truly prepared for an earthquake, you should have an earthquake kit at the ready. Here is an example of an earthquake kit to help keep you and your family safe during the big one.


Disaster Preparedness: Earthquake Disaster Plan

In order for you and your family to be truly prepared, make sure you have an earthquake disaster plan (in addition to your earthquake kit) in place. Furthermore, ensure everyone in your family knows what to do and where the emergency supplies are located.

  1. Safe Areas: Make sure that you and each member of your family know the safe areas in your home. These tend to be interior corners which are well away from windows. Keep these areas free from potential hazards like bookshelves. You don’t want items falling on top of you during an earthquake.
  2. Emergency Contact List: Have a list of people to contact in case of an earthquake emergency which includes at least a couple of people who live out of state. Those who live in your city or state might also have been impacted by the earthquake and may not be able to assist you. Also, be sure to have a printed copy of your list as Internet and cellular service may be out.
  3. Light Sources: If the power goes out, you’re not going to be able to just flick a switch to get light anymore. Make sure that there are plenty of flashlights in your home with fully charged batteries. Candles and matches are also advisable. A battery-operated radio is also a great piece of kit to have in case of an earthquake disaster.
  4. Essential Supplies: Keep plenty of essential supplies in your home at all times. You’ll want about five days’ worth of non-perishable food and water as a safety precaution. (If you have pets, don’t forget to stock some of their food, too!) If you need medication, make sure you’ve got a good supply of it in stock to last you a few weeks or until the pharmacies can open again.
  5. Earthquake Drills: Practice earthquake drills with your family on a regular basis. That way, if the real thing does happen, there’s a much better chance of everyone remaining calm and, in turn, safe. To practice your earthquake drill, pretend their is an earthquake and then direct your family to the safe spots in your home. Ideally, you would have something over you like a strong desk, chair, or table to protect you from falling debris. Duck down with your arms over your head and stay there for around a minute before making your way to the closest exit.


ShakeAlert® Earthquake Early Warning System

ShakeAlert® is an earthquake early warning (EEW) system that detects significant earthquakes so quickly that alerts can reach many people before shaking arrives. ShakeAlert is not earthquake prediction, rather a ShakeAlert Message indicates that an earthquake has begun and shaking is imminent.

Here is a video on how ShakeAlert® works:


You can follow ShakeAlert® on Twitter here: @USGS_ShakeAlert


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