How to Be Earthquake Ready: Essential Survival Tips for You and Your Family

You never know when an earthquake will strike, making it vital to be prepared and know how to protect yourself during this natural disaster. Earthquakes can be sudden and devastating, but with the right knowledge and preparation, you can increase your chances of staying safe. In this blog post, you will learn vital tips on how to survive an earthquake, including what to do when the ground starts shaking, how to take cover indoors and outdoors, and how to effectively respond to hazards and injuries that may occur during and after an earthquake. By following these life-saving guidelines, you and your loved ones can be better equipped to ride out an earthquake safely.

Key Takeaways:

  • Prepare in Advance: Create an emergency supply kit, develop a family survival plan, identify safe spots in each room, and practice earthquake drills regularly to be ready for any seismic event.
  • Follow Safety Protocols: Remember the “Drop, Cover, and Hold on” procedure during an earthquake. Stay away from glass, hazards, and exterior walls. Crouch under a sturdy table or desk, protect your head and neck and stay put until the shaking stops.
  • Stay Alert and Respond Safely: Be cautious around debris, check for injuries, inspect for structural damage, and turn off utilities if necessary. Move to a clear area outdoors, get to higher ground if near water, and have a plan to communicate and reunite with family members after the earthquake.
How to Be Earthquake Ready: Essential Survival Tips for You and Your Family
How to Be Earthquake Ready: Essential Survival Tips for You and Your Family

Before an Earthquake: Preparing Your Home and Family

Assembling an Emergency Supply Kit

Now is the time to prepare for an earthquake by assembling an emergency supply kit. In the event of a disaster, having a well-stocked kit can make a significant difference in your ability to ride out the aftermath safely. Your kit should include bottled water, non-perishable food, a first aid kit, medications, flashlights, extra batteries, tools, a whistle, clothes, blankets, and supplies for any pets you may have. Keep your supplies in an easily accessible location so that every member of your family knows where to find them in an emergency.

Creating a Family Disaster Plan

To ensure the safety of your loved ones in the event of an earthquake, it’s crucial to have a family disaster plan in place. Develop a plan that includes designated meeting spots, evacuation routes, and communication strategies. Conduct practice drills every 6 months to ensure that everyone knows what to do when disaster strikes. Remember to designate specific locations where you will reunite in case you get separated during an earthquake. Keep in mind that phone service may be limited in the aftermath of a disaster, so it’s important to have a clear plan in place beforehand.

Securing Heavy Furniture and Hazardous Items

Before an earthquake strikes, take the necessary precautions to secure heavy furniture and hazardous items in your home. Tall cabinets, bookcases, and hanging plants pose a significant risk of injury if they fall during a tremor. Store these items in secure cabinets or attach them to walls using brackets to prevent them from toppling over. Avoid storing heavy objects high up and keep dangerous items like sharp objects and flammable substances in locked or low cabinets to reduce the risk of injury during an earthquake.

Learning Utility Shut-off Procedures

Items like gas leaks, electrical malfunctions, and water damage are common hazards in the aftermath of an earthquake. It is crucial to learn the proper utility shut-off procedures to prevent further damage and ensure your safety. Turn off your gas main, shut down individual circuits or fuses for electricity, and locate the water main to prevent flooding. Knowing how to shut off these utilities can help mitigate the impact of a disaster and protect your home and family from additional harm.

Earthquake Warnings and Immediate Actions

Interpreting Earthquake Alerts

One of the most critical aspects of surviving an earthquake is understanding the importance of earthquake warnings and immediate responses. Earthquakes can strike without warning, but advance notice, even if just a few seconds, can make a significant difference. While earthquake early warnings do not predict earthquakes, they provide valuable seconds to prepare. You might receive a warning just before or after the shaking begins, so it is crucial to act swiftly.

Crucial Actions in the Moments Before Impact

If you receive an earthquake warning, there are several immediate actions you should take to ensure your safety. Quickly turn off cooking appliances to prevent fire hazards and open exit doors if possible to facilitate a swift evacuation if necessary. Follow instructions from emergency personnel in public locations and remain calm to execute their directives promptly. It is paramount to remember that every second counts in the moments leading up to a potential earthquake impact.

If you are in a vehicle during an earthquake, slow down cautiously and avoid sudden movements to prevent accidents. Remember that staying informed and prepared can significantly increase your chances of surviving an earthquake with minimal harm.

Surviving the Shaking: What to Do During the Earthquake

Indoor Safety: Drop, Cover, and Hold On

For indoor safety during an earthquake, remember the phrase “Drop, Cover, and Hold On.” When the shaking starts, quickly move away from any hazards such as glass, large furniture, or objects that could fall. Drop to your hands and knees under a sturdy table or desk to shield yourself from debris. Remain in your safe spot until the shaking stops, and be prepared for aftershocks.

Outdoor Safety: Staying Clear of Hazards

While outdoors during an earthquake, prioritize getting away from buildings, street lights, power lines, and bridges, as these are the most dangerous locations. Crouch down low in an open area, cover your head, and remain in a covered position until the shaking stops. Be cautious of hazards such as broken glass, rubble, downed power lines, and fallen trees as you assess your surroundings.

In a Vehicle: How to React While on the Road

Safety in a vehicle during an earthquake is crucial. When on the road, stop your vehicle in a clear area away from trees, buildings, and other structures. Set your parking brake and remain inside the vehicle until the shaking stops. Use caution when driving, watching out for damaged roads, debris, and other hazards as you proceed.

Earthquake damage can cause flooding downstream from a dam, so it’s important to move to higher ground to stay safe if you’re near a dam during an earthquake.

After the Earthquake: Ensuring Safety and Assessing Damage

Evaluating Immediate Surroundings for Dangers

All earthquakes, regardless of their magnitude, pose immediate dangers to those affected. It is crucial to carefully assess your immediate surroundings for potential hazards after the shaking stops. Look out for fallen debris, broken glass, and structural damage that may compromise the safety of your environment. Take note of any gas leaks, fires, or electrical hazards that could lead to further danger. Remember that aftershocks are common following an earthquake and can cause additional damage to already weakened structures.

Providing First Aid and Seeking Help

After an earthquake, it is important to provide first aid to anyone who may have sustained injuries during the event. Check yourself and those around you for any wounds or trauma that require immediate attention. Administer basic first aid techniques such as applying pressure to stop bleeding or stabilizing fractures until professional help arrives. In case of severe injuries or unconsciousness, refrain from moving the individual unless necessary. Seek emergency services promptly to ensure proper medical care is provided to those in need.

Remember that in the chaos following an earthquake, communication channels may be disrupted. It is crucial to stay calm and assist those in need while awaiting professional assistance. Prioritize providing aid to those with severe injuries and ensure that medical help is summoned promptly.

Handling Utility Damages Safely

First responders often highlight the importance of handling utility damages with caution in the aftermath of an earthquake. Properly shutting off gas, electricity, and water can prevent additional hazards such as fires, electrical shocks, or flooding. Knowing the location of your utility shut-off valves and switches beforehand can significantly expedite the process when faced with an emergency situation. Remember that safety should always be the top priority when dealing with utility damages after an earthquake.

One key aspect of post-earthquake safety is understanding how to safely address utility damages within your home or building. By promptly shutting off gas, electricity, and water sources, you can minimize the risk of secondary emergencies such as gas leaks or electrical fires. Prioritize safety measures to protect yourself and others from the potential dangers associated with damaged utilities.

How to Be Earthquake Ready: Essential Survival Tips for You and Your Family
How to Be Earthquake Ready: Essential Survival Tips for You and Your Family

Coping Strategies and Mental Health Post-Earthquake

Managing Stress and Anxiety

Unlike physical injuries, the emotional impact of an earthquake can be long-lasting and challenging to overcome. You may experience heightened levels of stress and anxiety in the aftermath of such a traumatic event. You must prioritize self-care and take steps to manage your emotions effectively to promote your overall well-being.

You can cope with stress and anxiety by practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, or yoga. Engaging in physical activity, maintaining a healthy diet, and getting enough rest are also crucial for managing your mental health post-earthquake.

Supporting Children and Vulnerable Individuals

Anxiety among children and vulnerable individuals can be particularly significant after experiencing an earthquake. It is vital to provide support and reassurance to help them navigate their emotions and fears. Anxiety in children may manifest as clinginess, nightmares, or changes in behavior. Encourage open communication and offer a safe space for them to express their feelings.

Mental health professionals recommend maintaining routines, providing comfort items, and offering age-appropriate explanations about the earthquake to support children and vulnerable individuals during this challenging time.

Seeking Professional Assistance

Mental health support is crucial for individuals experiencing prolonged distress or significant psychological impact following an earthquake. Seeking assistance from a licensed therapist or counselor can aid in processing emotions, overcoming trauma, and developing coping strategies for future challenges. Stress responses vary among individuals, and it is vital to prioritize mental health care if you are struggling to cope.

Earthquake Recovery Tips

For effective earthquake recovery, it is crucial to have a plan in place. Once the shaking stops, the recovery process begins. It is vital to follow proper steps to ensure your safety and the safety of your property. Here are some key tips to help you navigate the aftermath of an earthquake:

Returning Home: When It’s Safe

When you are permitted to return home after an earthquake, ensure you proceed with caution. Be vigilant for any structural damage that may have occurred during the quake. Inspect your surroundings carefully and assess the safety of your residence. Perceiving any signs of danger, such as cracks in walls or ceilings, should prompt you to seek shelter elsewhere until professionals assess the structural integrity of your home.

Cleaning Up and Securing Your Property

Some important steps to take post-earthquake in cleaning up and securing your property include removing debris and securing loose objects to prevent further damage. Your immediate focus should be safety, so prioritize clearing paths and securing heavy furniture or objects that could pose a risk. Once the area is secure, you can start the deeper cleaning process to restore normalcy to your home.

Contacting Insurers and Repairing Damage

Any damage incurred during an earthquake should be documented and reported to your insurance provider promptly. Contacting your insurance company immediately after the earthquake ensures timely assessment and processing of your claim. Be prepared to provide detailed information about the damages and follow any instructions provided by your insurer for a smooth claims process.


With this in mind, surviving an earthquake requires preparedness, quick thinking, and decisive action. By following the guidelines provided, such as creating an emergency supply kit, practicing drills regularly, and knowing how to take cover indoors or outdoors, individuals can increase their chances of staying safe during this natural disaster. It is crucial to understand the actions to take before, during, and after an earthquake to minimize the risk of injury or harm.

Bear in mind, that earthquakes can strike at any moment, and being equipped with the knowledge and tools to respond effectively can make all the difference. Stay informed, remain vigilant, and always prioritize safety for yourself and your loved ones. By taking proactive measures and being prepared, you can increase your resilience and ability to withstand the impacts of an earthquake.


Q: What should I do during an earthquake?

A: During an earthquake, remember the phrase “drop, cover, and hold on.” Quickly find a spot away from hazards, such as glass, exterior walls, and objects that could fall. Crouch under a sturdy table or desk until the shaking stops.

Q: How can I prepare for an earthquake?

A: To prepare for an earthquake, create an emergency supply kit with crucials like water, food, a first aid kit, a flashlight, tools, and pet supplies if needed. Develop a family survival plan, identify safe spots in each room of your home, and practice earthquake drills regularly.

Q: What actions should I take after an earthquake?

A: After an earthquake, check for injuries and render aid if needed. Inspect your building for structural damage and hazards like gas leaks or electrical issues. Stay away from damaged areas, follow emergency personnel instructions, and be cautious of aftershocks. Remember to shut off water, gas, and electricity if necessary.

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