Earthquake Preparedness and Safety
|5 Seconds after an Earthquake
|Immediately following an earthquake Duck, Cover, and Hold is the key:
- Duck under a sturdy structure like a table
- Cover your head from falling or flying objects
- Hold onto something sturdy until the shaking stops
|5 Minutes after an Earthquake
1. Check for injuries. Do not move a seriously injured person unless they are in immediate danger of further injuries.
2. Safety check. Check for the following hazards:
3. Clean up. Clean up potentially harmful materials and/or medicines which may have spilled.
- Fire or fire hazards.
- Gas leaks: Shut off the main gas valve only if a leak is suspected or identified by the odor of natural gas. Wait for the gas company to turn it back on once the damage is repaired.
- Damaged electrical wiring: Shut off power at the control box.
- Downed or damaged utility lines: Stay away from downed lines even if power appears to be off.
- Fallen objects in closets and cupboards: Displaced objects may fall when you open the door.
- Downed or damaged chimneys: Approach chimneys with caution. They may be weakened and could topple during an aftershock.
- Check your telephone: Make sure each phone is on its receiver. Telephones that are off the hook tie up the telephone network unnecessarily.
4. Expect aftershocks. Most of these are smaller than the main earthquake. Some may be large enough to do additional damage to weakened structures.
- Use flashlights or battery-powered lanterns. Do not use lighters, matches, candles, or lanterns until you are sure there are no gas leaks.
- Use your telephone only in the event of life-threatening emergencies.
- Turn on a battery-powered radio for information, damage reports, and for information on volunteering your assistance.
- Keep streets clear for emergency vehicles. Cooperate with public safety officials.
Learn these valuable skills at one of our FREE Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training classes.
|5 Days after an Earthquake
- Ensure you have the necessary supplies to be self reliant for 3-5 days - see our Disaster Supply Checklist.
Develop a Family Communication Plan - phone numbers of in/out of area contacts, pre-designated meeting place, and more.
Links to Emergency Preparedness Information:
- SMC ALERT - Register your information to receive important alerts from San Mateo County's Community Alert System
- SMCReady - Disaster Preparedness Information for San Mateo County
- Ready.gov - Learn how to Prepare, Plan, and Stay Informed from the US Dept. of Homeland Security
- San Mateo County Sheriff's Office - Citizen Preparedness Information from the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office