Steps to Take
1. Make a Plan: Determine evacuation routes out of your home; designate meeting places outside your home and your neighborhood; agree on who to call, including out-of-state contacts, after a disaster. The American Red Cross offers details. The state Emergency Management Division provides details for homes, schools, businesses.
2. Assemble an Emergency Kit: Keep food and water on hand for at least five days, and remember to include foods that need minimal cooking and/or refrigeration. Don't forget prescription medications or the needs of your children and pets. See also: packing for special needs.
3. Reduce Hazards: In an earthquake in the United States, more people are injured by the way they decorate than by building collapse. Unsecured pictures, mirrors and bookcases pose a real threat. If something in your home would readily fall and/or break and hurt someone in an earthquake, you should bolt, anchor or strap it down. Visit the earthquake advisor for specific details and take the earthquake knowledge challenge to see how preparedness savvy you are!
4. Learn Skills:
5. Practice Drills: If you have never practiced "drop, cover and hold," the likelihood of you performing this "quake safe" action when there is an earthquake is only about 10 percent. Every time you practice, you double your chances of doing the right thing. Do you know where you and your loved ones would meet in the event of a fire? Do your children know the exit routes?
6. Develop a Family Reunion Plan: The biggest cause of anxiety after a disaster is not knowing if your loved ones are all right. Mobile phone relays can break down or get overloaded, so don't rely on them. Text messages will often go through when cell towers are overwhelmed. Talk with your family now about where you would meet and how you would communicate after a disaster by making a plan. The American Red Cross offers a site called Safe and Well, where family members, friends, and loved ones can log status updates about each other during a large-scale emergency event.