Earthquake - Before, During and After
Seventy million people in 39 states are at high risk from earthquakes.
People in all states, however, are at some risk. Earthquakes can
cause buildings to collapse, disrupt utilities and trigger landslides,
avalanches, flash floods, fires, hazardous materials spills, tsunamis
and volcanoes. Since 1840 more than 900 earthquakes have been
felt in Washington. Approximately 1,000 earthquakes occur in Washington
State every year.
- Identify safe spots and danger zones in each room.
- Consider buying earthquake insurance.
- Know where and how to shut off all utilities.
- Be sure your house is firmly anchored to its foundation.
- Anchor overhead lighting fixtures.
- Store bottled foods, glass, china and other breakables on
low shelves or in cabinets that can fasten shut.
- Place large or heavy objects on lower shelves.
- Fasten shelves to walls. Brace high and top-heavy objects.
- Repair defective electrical wiring, leaky gas and inflexible
- Securely fasten water heaters and gas appliances.
- If indoors-take cover under sturdy furniture or against an
inside wall, and hold on, "Drop, Cover and Hold". Stay
away from the kitchen!
- If outdoors stay there. Move away from buildings, street lights
and utility wires.
- In a high-rise building-take cover under sturdy furniture
away from windows and outside walls. Stay in the building on the
same floor. An evacuation may not be necessary. Wait for instructions
from safety personnel. Do not use elevators.
- In a vehicle stop as quickly as safety permits, and stay in
the vehicle. Avoid stopping near or under buildings, trees, overpasses
or utility wires.
- Check for injuries; yourself and those around you.
- Be prepared for aftershocks.
- Wear study shoes in areas covered with fallen debris and broken
- If the electricity is out-use flashlights or battery powered
- Check the main control panel.
- If you smell gas or hear a hissing sound open a window and
leave the building. Shut off the main gas valve outside.
- If water pipes are damaged shut off the water supply at the
- Check your home for structural damage. Check chimneys for
- Clean up spilled medicines, bleaches. gasoline and other flammable
- Visually inspect utility lines and appliances for damage.
- Do not flush toilets until you know that sewage lines are
- Open cabinets cautiously. Beware of objects that can fall
- Use the phone only to report a life threatenlng emergency
- Listen to news reports for the latest emergency information.
- Stay off the streets.
- Stay away from damaged areas, unless your assistance has been
specifically requested by proper authorities.
Washington State Military Department, Emergency Management