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7 Steps to Earthquake Survival

In Los Angeles, earthquakes are here to stay. Because they don’t happen every week, or even every year (to the extent we can feel them), we often forget what to do. These 7 Steps to Earthquake Survival will help you survive the next major earthquake.

Earthquakes are inevitable

As you may know, in the state of California, earthquakes are inevitable. However, dearth and destruction following a quake are not. We encourage you to follow our 7 step guide to earthquake survival below to ensure your safety.

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A guide for earthquake safety

The seven steps to earthquake survival

Preparing for the next damaging earthquake can help you and your family to survive and recover. By following them, you can not only avoid costly damage to your home, but you can keep your family safe from injury.

You should follow these steps not only at home but in school and your workplace.

Step 1. Secure your space

  • Hang plants in lightweight pots with closed hooks, well secured to a joist or stud and far away from windows
  • Install strong latches on kitchen cabinets.
  • Use flexible connections where gas lines meet appliances.
  • Remove or lock refrigerator wheels, secure to studs.
  • Secure valuable electronics items such as computers and televisions.
  • Keep breakables in low or secure cabinets with latches.
  • Move heavy plants and other large items to floor or low shelves.
  • Hang mirrors and pictures on closed hooks, and secure them to walls with velcro.
  • Secure free-standing wood stoves or fireplace inserts.
  • Keep heavy unstable objects away from doors and exit routes.
  • Place bed away from windows or items that may fall and place only light weight/soft items over bed.
  • Secure knick knacks and other small valuables with museum putty.
  • Brace overhead light fixtures.
  • Secure top-heavy furniture to studs.
  • Secure water heater with metal straps attached to studs.
  • Trim hazardous tree limbs.

Step 2. Create a plan

Creating an earthquake escape plan is very much like creating a family escape plan for any emergency. Learn more about escape plans below.

Step 3. Prepare disaster kits

Preparing a survival kit will guarantee you have access to necessary items if you have to leave your home in a hurry, or if you have to shelter in place without electricity or running water for a period of time. Learn more about what to put in your kit below. 

Other items to have on hand in an emergency like an earthquake include:

  • Store fire extinguisher (type ABC is most universal) in easily accessible location.
  • Keep several flashlights in easily accessible places around the house and don’t forget to store extra batteries with them.
  • Keep wrench or turn-off tool in water proof wrap near gas meter.
  • Know the location of your main electrical switch (fuse box or circuit breaker).
  • Have your emergency plan accessible and discuss with all family members.
  • Know whether you live, work, or play in a tsunami hazard zone.
  • Obtain a NOAA Weather Radio with the Public Alert feature to notify you of tsunamis and other hazards.
  • Keep gas tank at least half full.

Step 4. Strengthen your home

  • Use anchor bolts every 4 to 6 feet to secure home to foundation. It’s one of the many earthquake-smart building codes enforced in the state of California.
  • Reinforce brick chimneys.

Step 5. During the earthquake

  • Drop
  • Cover
  • And Hold On!


You can Learn more about this life saving technique by visiting Drop, Cover, and Hold On!

Step 6. After the initial shaking stops

  • Check you and those around you for injuries
  • Check your surroundings for damage

Step 7. After the earthquake

When it’s safe, continue to follow your emergency plan. That’s why you thoughtfully prepared such a detailed plan. It’s there to provide peace of mind and necessary items to make your recovery from the earthquake as painless and worry-free as possible.

Check Out Our Earthquake Resources

We have a library of interesting and helpful videos to aid in becoming more knowledgable about earthquake safety. Also, a list of resources to aid in a safe and speedy recovery.

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