Before and Earthquake: Prepare Your Home
- Bolt and brace water heaters and gas appliances to wall studs. Have a professional install flexible fittings to avoid gas or water leaks.
- Install strong latches or bolts on cabinets. Large or heavy items should be closest to the floor.
- Anchor top-heavy, tall and freestanding furniture such as bookcases, TVs and china cabinets to wall studs to keep these from toppling over.
- Consider home repair and strengthening measures for exterior features, such as porches, decks, sliding glass doors, canopies, carports and garage doors.
- In the event of an earthquake, you may be instructed to shut off the utility services at your home. Teach responsible members of your family how to turn off the gas, electricity and water at valves and main switches. Consult your local utility providers if you need more information.
- Practice Drop, Cover, then Hold On with family and coworkers. Drop to your hands and knees. Cover your head and neck with your arms. Crawl only as far as needed to reach cover from falling materials. Hold on to any sturdy furniture until the shaking stops.
- Create a family emergency communication plan that has an out-of-state contact. Plan where to meet if you get separated.
- Make a supply kit that includes enough food and water for at least three days, a flashlight, a fire extinguisher, and a whistle. Consider each person’s specific needs, including medication. Do not forget the needs of pets. Have extra batteries and charging devices for phones and other critical equipment. For more information, visit VAemergency.gov/emergency-kit.
- Consider obtaining an earthquake insurance policy. Standard homeowner’s insurance does not cover earthquake damage.
Your emergency communication plan should include extra cellular phone charging devices as well as additional communication tools: AM/FM radio, smartphone alerts and apps, and a NOAA weather radio with additional batteries are recommended.
Write down phone numbers and email addresses for everyone in your household and other contacts including extended family, friends, neighbors or coworkers. This information will help you reconnect with others even if you don’t have your mobile device with you or if the battery runs down.
If you have a household member who is deaf or hard of hearing, or who has a speech disability and uses traditional or video relay service (VRS), include information on how to connect through relay services on a landline phone, mobile device or computer.
Identify someone outside of your community or state who can act as a central point of contact to help your household reconnect. In a disaster, it may be easier to make a long-distance phone call because local phone lines can be overwhelmed or impaired.
School, Childcare, Caregiver and Workplace Emergency Plans
Make sure your household members with phone and email accounts are signed up for alerts and warnings from their school, workplace and local government agencies including: police, fire, ambulance services, public health department, public works, public utilities, school system and your local emergency management office. Following these agencies on social media will provide you with an additional avenue to access convenient and critical information.
Other Important Phone Numbers and Info
Write down, store or have convenient access to phone numbers for emergency services, utility and service providers, medical providers, veterinarians, insurance companies and other critical services.