What to do after a quake

What to do after a quake

Credit: Steven Kramer, University of Washington

Road failure near Tumwater after the 2001 Nisqually quake.

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by KING5.com

KING5.com

Posted on July 7, 2010 at 4:11 PM

Updated Monday, Jul 19 at 9:11 AM

Do you know what to do after an earthquake? Here is how you can plan ahead and protect yourself, your family, and your property.

Put your disaster plan into action

  • Check yourself for injuries. Protect yourself from further danger by putting on long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, sturdy shoes, and work gloves.
  • Check others for injuries. Check on your neighbors who might need special assistance, especially the elderly or disabled. Give first aid for serious injuries.
  • Use the phone only to report a life threatening emergency.
  • Listen to news reports for the latest emergency information.


Check your home

  • If water pipes are damaged, shut off the water supply at the main valve.
  • Wear sturdy shoes in areas covered with fallen debris and broken glass.
  • Check your home for structural damage. Check chimneys for damage.
  • Clean up spilled medicines, bleach, gasoline and other flammable liquids.
  • Visually inspect utility lines and appliances for damage.
  • Stay off the streets.
  • Stay away from damaged areas, unless your assistance has been specifically requested by proper authorities.
  • Be aware of a possible tsunami. Go to high ground and remain there until you are told it is safety to return to home.


The City of Seattle offers Home Retrofit Classes. In this 2-hour class, you'll learn how to evaluate your home to determine if it qualifies for the standard earthquake retrofitting plan. You'll also find out:

  • How to evaluate your home using Project Impact retrofit guidelines.
  • Tool usage and proper installation of parts
  • How to brace pony walls
  • How to secure the first floor framing
  • Which engineering solutions can be applied to your home, and when
  • The "fast-track" permit process and building code requirements – why are they important?
  • Safety issues
  • How to work with one of the trained contractors.


By using a "model" wall and tools, they demonstrate correct usage of retrofitting methods and materials. Each participant will also receive a packet of literature and detailed drawings. The class is designed for all homeowners, whether planning to do it yourself or hire a qualified contractor.

A number of classes are being offered. For information call 206-233-5076.

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