Click here to go back to the Main Tips page.


Tips for preparing for an earthquake


Are you ready to ride out a big one? With all of the recent coverage of Earthquake in China, now is an excellent time to prepare an emergency kit.

Many stores sell pre-made kits. But you can easily assemble your own with a trip to the home improvement store. Large totes are perfect for storing supplies.

Your emergency supplies should be adequate for at least three days since utilities may not be working. A 10-day supply of water, food, and medicine is recommended.

Here are some tips:

  • Know the safe spots in each room — under sturdy tables, desks, or against interior walls.
  • Know the danger spots — near windows, mirrors, hanging objects, fireplaces and tall, unsecured furniture.
  • Conduct practice drills so you and your family know the safe locations in your home.
  • Decide how and where your family will reunite if separated during a quake.
  • Choose an out-of-province friend or relative who family members can call after the quake to report their whereabouts and conditions.
  • Learn first aid and CPR.
  • Learn to shut off gas, water, and electricity in case the lines are damaged. Do not attempt to relight the gas pilot. Call the utility company.
  • Check chimneys, roofs, walls and foundations for stability. Make sure your house is bolted to its foundation.
  • Secure your water heater and major appliances as well as tall, heavy furniture, hanging plants, mirrors and picture frames — especially those over beds.
  • Keep breakables, heavy objects, flammable or hazardous liquids such as paints, pest sprays and cleaning products, in secured cabinets or on lower shelves.

During an earthquake

  • Indoors: Stay there. Get under a desk or table or stand in a corner.
  • Outdoors: Stay in an open area away from trees, buildings, walls and power lines.
  • High-rise building: Stay away from windows and outside walls. Get under a table. Do not use elevators.
  • Driving: Pull over to the side of the road and stop. Avoid overpasses and power lines. Stay inside your car until the shaking is over.
  • If in a crowded public place, do not rush for the doors. Crouch and cover your head and neck with your hands and arms.

After an earthquake

  • Unless there is an immediate, life-threatening emergency, do not attempt to use the telephone.
  • Check for gas and water leaks, broken electrical wiring or sewage lines. If there is damage, turn the utility off at the source and immediately report gas leaks to your utility company. Check for downed power lines; warn others to stay away.
  • Check your building for cracks and damage, including the roof, chimneys and foundation.
  • Turn on your portable radio for instructions and news reports. For your own safety, cooperate fully with public safety officials and follow instructions.
  • Do not use your vehicle unless there is an emergency.

First Aid

  • First aid kit. Make sure it's well stocked, especially with bandages and disinfectants.
  • First Aid Manual — know how to use it.
  • Critical medication and eyeglasses, contact cases and supplies

Baby supplies

  • Formula, bottle, pacifier, soap and baby powder, clothing, blankets, baby wipes, disposable diapers, canned food and juices.

Tools and Supplies

  • Fire extinguisher — A-B-C type. Your fire extinguisher should be suitable for all types of fires. Teach all family members how to use it.
  • Have an adjustable, crescent or pipe wrench for turning off gas and water immediately following a large quake. Make sure the family knows where it is and how to use it.
  • Axe, shovel and broom
  • Tool kit including a screwdriver, pliers and a hammer
  • Coil of 1/2" rope or bailing wire
  • Plastic tape, staple gun and sheeting for window replacement
  • Bicycle and city map

Communication Kit

  • Portable radio with extra batteries. Most telephones will be out of order or limited to emergency use. The radio will be your best source of information.
  • Paper, pens, stamps
  • Extra pair of house and car keys
  • Cash and change
  • Watch or clock (battery or spring wound).
  • If you evacuate, leave a message at your home telling family members and others where you can be found.
  • Safety and Comfort
  • Candles
  • Matches-dipped in wax and kept in waterproof container
  • Blankets or sleeping bags
  • Sturdy shoes for every family member
  • Heavy gloves for clearing debris
  • Light sticks
  • Change of clothing
  • Knife or razor blades
  • Garden hose for siphoning and firefighting
  • Tent

Food and Drink

  • Food. Enough for three days, preferably one week. Canned or individually packaged; precooked, requiring minimum heat and water. Consider infants, pets, and other special dietary requirements.
  • Water. Enough so each person has a gallon a day for three days, preferably one week. Store in airtight containers and replace it every six months. Store disinfectants such as iodine tablets or chlorine bleach, eight drops per gallon, to purify water if necessary.
  • Food, water and restraint for pets (leash or carrier)

Sanitation Supplies

  • Bar soap and liquid detergent
  • Large plastic trash bags for waste; tarps and rain ponchos
  • Large trash cans
  • Shampoo, toothpaste and toothbrushes, deodorant
  • Toilet paper, feminine hygiene supplies
  • Household bleach
  • Powdered chlorinated lime-to add to sewage to disinfect and keep away insects.
  • Newspapers to wrap waste, garbage or warmth.

Mini Survival Kit for Automobile

  • Non-perishable food-store in coffee cans
  • Boiled water
  • First aid kit and manual
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Blanket
  • Sealable plastic bags
  • Flashlight-spare fresh batteries and bulb
  • Critical medication, extra eyeglasses
  • Tools-screwdriver, pliers, wire, knife
  • Short rubber hose
  • Pre-moistened towelettes
  • Feminine supplies
  • Sturdy shoes and gloves

Cooking Essentials

  • Manual can opener
  • Camping stove for outdoor cooking (caution: Before using fire to cook, make sure there are no gas leaks, never use charcoal indoors)
  • Plastic knives, forks, spoons
  • Paper plates, paper cups and paper towels
  • Plastic bags: Various sizes, sealable
  • Pots-at least two
  • Heavy-duty aluminum foil

Light source

  • Flashlights with extra batteries. Keep flashlights besides your bed and in several other locations. DO NOT use matches or candles after an earthquake until you are certain there are no gas leaks.