When you feel an earthquake, drop under a desk or sturdy table. Stay away from windows, bookcases, file cabinets, heavy mirrors, hanging plants, and other objects that could fall. Watch out for falling plaster or ceiling tiles. Stay under cover until the shaking stops. Hold onto the desk or table. It if moves, move with it.
After the earthquake has stopped, it is important to remember these safety tips.
- There could be aftershocks. Be prepared.
- If it is safe where you are, your best bet is to stay put. Do not go outside unless you think the building you are in is unsafe.
- If you smell or hear leaking gas, open your windows and get everyone out of the building immediately. The same applies to the smell of smoke.
- If you think there may be a gas leak, do not switch electric lights on or off. If you need light, use a flashlight.
- Use a fire extinguisher to put out small fires. Do not use water on electrical or gas fires. If you cannot put out the fire quickly, get everyone out of the building.
- Inspect your home’s foundation, walls, and chimney. Look and listen for signs of collapse.
- Please stay OFF the telephone. The police and fire know about the earthquake. We will respond to the most serious problems first.
- Stay off your cell phone, unless reporting a life threatening injury. Unnecessary phone calls to friends and relatives will jam the phone system, which could keep emergency calls from getting through.
- It is best to stay off the roads until the shaking has stopped.
- Turn off any appliance that was on when the earthquake hit and check for damage.
- Check your water heater. If it fell over during the earthquake, it may have broken gas, electric or water lines.
- If your utilities are damaged, turn them off. If you turn off your gas, do not turn it back on yourself. A professional should do this.
- If your neighborhood has suffered damage, try to store water for later use. Fill your bathtub or other large containers.
- Plan on sterilizing any water that is not bottled. You can sterilize water by boiling it for five minutes.
- If you must leave your home or work, leave a note on the front door to tell family or emergency personnel where you have gone.