Do you know what to do before an earthquake? Here is how you can plan ahead and protect yourself, your family, and your property. Be Prepared - create a home earthquake plan.

Know your safety zone and hazard locations

  • Find safe spots in each room - under a sturdy table or desk, against an inside wall where nothing can fall on you, or in a doorway.
  • Find the danger spots in each room - windows, fireplaces, tall, unsecured furniture, cupboards, hanging objects.

Eliminate the hazards

  • 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.
  • Install strong latches on cupboards.
  • Place large or heavy objects on lower shelves.
  • Fasten shelves to walls. Bolt bookcases, china cabinets, and other tall furniture to wall studs.
  • Repair defective electrical wiring, leaky gas and inflexible utility connections.
  • Fasten water heater to wall studs

For more preparedness information and tips visit the Seattle Emergency Management Web site.

Prepare a disaster supply kit for home and car. It should include:

  • First aid kit and essential medications
  • Canned food and can opener
  • At least three gallons of water per person
  • Protective clothing, rainwear, and bedding or sleeping bags
  • Battery-powered radio, flashlight, and extra batteries
  • Special items for infant, elderly, or disabled family members
  • Written instructions for how to turn off gas, electricity, and water if authorities advise you to do so (Remember, you'll need a professional to turn natural gas service back on.)
  • Keep essentials, such as a flashlight and sturdy shoes, by your bedside.
  • Keep copies of all important documents in a safety deposit box and keep the key with you.

The American Red Cross (1-800-REDCROSS) has first aid and disaster supply kits available. The types of kits offered include:

  • Auto first-aid kit perfect for the car or boat
  • Deluxe O.S.H.A. first-aid kit for up to a 15-person office or a 5-person work site. Meets O.S.H.A. requirements.
  • Mini-trauma first-aid kit for large offices and worksites.
  • Family deluxe backpack. Be prepared for emergencies or quick evacuation. Includes cards, crayons and a color book for the kids.

You can purchase these kits from your local Red Cross Chapter or by ordering online at the Seattle King County Chapter or from the Oregon Trail Chapter in Portland.

Create a 'Family Disaster Plan'

  • Make sure all family members know where the safety zones are in your home.
  • Teach all family members how and when to turn off gas, electricity, and water.
  • Teach children how and when to call 911, police, or fire department and which radio station to tune to for emergency information.
  • Develop an emergency communication plan.
  • In case family members are separated from one another during an earthquake (a real possibility during the day when adults are at work and children are at school), develop a plan for reuniting after the disaster.
  • Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as the family contact. After a disaster, it's often easier to call long-distance. Make sure everyone in the family knows the name, address, and phone number of the contact person.
  • Don't forget about your pets. Have extra pet food on hand. If you have to evacuate take your pets with you. Beware: animals may become aggressive after an disaster. Remember that pets are not allowed in public emergency shelters. Local animal control departments will set up emergency pet care facilities. Contact your local Red Cross, Humane Society or local animal control department for locations. The Humane Society of the United States offers tips on disaster preparedness for pets
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