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What should I do?

THE SEVEN STEPS


TO EARTHQUAKE SAFETY
What should I do?

Earthquakes are inevitable, but the damage from earth-


quakes is not–even in a large earthquake on the San
Andreas fault such as the one described on previous
pages. Many people think the destruction caused by earth-
quakes is unavoidable, and that our only option is to pick
up the pieces after the shaking stops. Actually, almost all
earthquake damages and losses can be reduced by steps
you take before, during, and after. Many also think that
all the damage and injuries from earthquakes comes from
collapsing buildings. Again, this isn’t the case. As buildings
are designed better, more of the losses in earthquakes are
from objects that break or fall on people causing injury.

The seven steps that follow include a range of actions to These steps were developed by members
do before, during, and after earthquakes in order to be safe of the Earthquake Country Alliance, which
includes leading earthquake professionals,
and reduce potential damage. In addition to following the
emergency managers, government officials,
steps at home, they should also be followed in schools, business and community leaders, and others.
workplaces, and other facilities. If we all follow these The recommendations are based on many
steps, we may save billions of dollars and prevent count- existing resources and the advice of many
less casualties in the next large earthquake. organizations.

We’re all in this together, so talk to your family, friends, The members of the Earthquake Country
neighbors, and co-workers about what you’ve learned Alliance all have specific roles before, during,
and after earthquakes, to reduce earthquake
in this handbook about earthquakes in southern
damage and injuries, and to speed recovery.
California. Then discuss what everyone has done to Do your part. Dare to prepare by following
prepare and plan together what else can be done. Visit the seven steps described in this section.
www.daretoprepare.org for instructions and resources
to help you act now.

Follow these seven steps to prepare


your home, your school, and your
workplace for our next earthquake.

start here… The Seven Steps to an Earthquake Resilient Business


Be prepared at
and other supplemental documents are online at
home and work!
www.earthquakecountry.info/roots

T H E R E S O U R C E M I N E : To learn more see the web resources listed on page 32.


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What should I do?

IDENTIFY POTENTIAL
#1
What should I do?

HAZARDS IN YOUR HOME


AND BEGIN TO FIX THEM.

Earthquake safety is more than minimizing


damage to buildings. We must also secure the
contents of our buildings to reduce the risk to
our lives and our pocketbooks.

Several people died and thousands were


injured in the Northridge earthquake because
of unsecured building contents such as top-
pling bookcases. Many billions of dollars
were lost due to this type of damage. Much of
this damage and injury could have been pre- In the kitchen Hanging objects Furniture
vented in advance through simple actions to Unsecured cabinet doors fly open during Mirrors, framed pictures, and other Secure the tops of all top-heavy furniture,
secure buildings and contents. earthquakes, allowing glassware and dishes objects should be hung from closed hooks such as bookcases and file cabinets, to a wall.
to crash to the floor. Many types of latches so that they can’t bounce off the walls. Be sure to anchor to the stud, and not just to
You should secure anything 1) heavy enough Pictures and mirrors can also be secured
are available to prevent this: child-proof the drywall. Flexible fasteners such as nylon
to hurt you if it falls on you, or 2) fragile or at their corners with earthquake putty.
latches, hook and eye latches, or positive straps allow tall objects to sway without fall-
expensive enough to be a significant loss if Only soft art such as tapestries should be
catch latches designed for boats. Gas appli- ing over, reducing the strain on the studs.
it falls. In addition to contents within your placed over beds or sofas.
ances should have flexible connectors to Loose shelving can also be secured by apply-
living space, also secure items in other areas,
reduce the risk of fire. Secure refrigerators ing earthquake putty on each corner bracket. Additional information, including
such as your garage, to reduce damage to Electronics
and other major appliances to walls using how-to instructions, is available at
vehicles or hazardous material spills. Televisions, stereos, computers and micro- In the garage or utility room
earthquake appliance straps.
There may be simple actions you can do right
waves and other electronics are heavy and Items stored in garages and utility rooms can www.daretoprepare.org
Objects on open shelves costly to replace. They can be secured with fall, causing injuries, damage, and hazardous
now that will protect you if an earthquake
and tabletops flexible nylon straps and buckles for easy spills or leaks. They can also block access to
happens tomorrow. START NOW by moving
Collectibles, pottery objects, and lamps can removal and relocation. vehicles and exits. Move flammable or haz-
furniture such as bookcases away from beds,
become deadly projectiles. Use either hook ardous materials to lower shelves or the floor.
sofas, or other places where people sit or
sleep. Move heavy objects to lower shelves. and loop fasteners on the table and object, or
non-damaging adhesives such as earthquake Water heater
Then begin to look for other items in your
home that may be hazardous in an earthquake. putty, clear quake gel, or microcrystalline wax Unsecured water heaters often fall over, rup-
to secure breakables in place. Move heavy turing rigid water and gas connections. If your
Some of the actions recommended on this items and breakables to lower shelves. water heater does not have two straps around
page may take a bit longer to complete, but it that are screwed into the studs or masonry
all are relatively simple. Most hardware stores of the wall, then it is not properly braced.
and home centers now carry earthquake safety This illustration shows one method of bracing
straps, fasteners, and adhesives. a water heater. Bracing kits are available that
make this process simple. Have a plumber
install flexible (corrugated) copper water con-
nectors, if not already done.

step 1 before the earthquake

14 15
What should I do?

#3
What should I do?

PREPARE DISASTER SUPPLIES KITS.

Plan NOW to be safe during an earthquake: Plan NOW to communicate and recover Personal disaster supplies kits
after an earthquake:
C Practice “drop, cover, and hold on.” Everyone should have personal disaster supplies kits. Keep them where you spend most of your
(See Step 5, page 19) C Select a safe place outside of your home to meet time, so they can be reached even if your building is badly damaged. The kits will be useful for
C Identify safe spots in every room, such as under your family or housemates after the shaking
many emergencies.
sturdy desks and tables. stops.
C Learn how to protect yourself no matter where C Designate an out-of-area contact person who can Keep one kit in your home, another in your car, and a third kit at work. Backpacks or other
you are when an earthquake strikes. be called by everyone in the household to relay
small bags are best for your disaster supplies kits so you can take them with you if you evacuate.
information.
C Provide all family members with a list of important Include at least the following items:
Plan NOW to respond after an earthquake:
#2 C Keep shoes and a working flashlight next to C
contact phone numbers.
Determine where you might live if your home
C Medications, prescription list, copies of medical
cards, doctor’s name and contact information
C List of emergency out-of-area contact
phone numbers
each bed. cannot be occupied after an earthquake or other C Medical consent forms for dependents C Snack foods, high in water and calories
CREATE A DISASTER- C Get a fire extinguisher for your home. Your local disaster. C First aid kit and handbook C Working flashlight with extra batteries and
PREPAREDNESS PLAN. fire department can train you and your family to C Know about the earthquake plan developed by C Examination gloves (non-latex) light bulbs, or light sticks
use it properly. your children’s school or day care. Keep your C Dust mask C Personal hygiene supplies
Will everyone in your household do the right C Teach everyone in your household to use children’s school emergency release card cur- C Spare eyeglasses or contact lenses and C Comfort items such as games, crayons, writing
thing during the violent shaking of a major emergency whistles and/or to knock three times rent.
cleaning solution materials, teddy bears
repeatedly if trapped. Rescuers searching C Keep copies of essential documents, such as
earthquake? Before the next earthquake, get C Bottled water C Toiletries and special provisions you need for
Identify the needs of household members and identification, insurance policies, and financial C Whistle (to alert rescuers to your location) yourself and others in your family including
together with your family or housemates to neighbors with special requirements or situations, records, in a secure, waterproof container, and C Sturdy shoes elderly, disabled, small children, and animals.
plan now what each person will do before, such as use of a wheelchair, walking aids, spe- keep with your disaster supplies kits. Include a C Emergency cash (ATMs might not work) C Copies of personal identification (drivers license,
during and after. cial diets, or medication. household inventory (a list and photos or video C Road maps work ID card, etc.)
C Take a Red Cross first aid and cardiopulmonary of your belongings). Financial recovery planning
Once the earthquake is over, we will have to resuscitation (CPR) training course. Learn who resources are listed at www.daretoprepare.org.

live with the risk of fire, the potential lack of


else in your neighborhood is trained in first aid Household disaster supplies kit A special note
and CPR. Have occasional earthquake “drills” to
utilities and basic services, and the certainty C Know the location of utility shutoffs and keep
practice your plan. Share your plan with Electrical, water, transportation, and other vital systems can be disrupted for several days or about children
of aftershocks. By planning now, you will be needed tools nearby. Make sure you know how much longer in some places after a large earthquake. Emergency response agencies and hospitals
to turn off the gas, water, and electricity to your
people who take care of your children, pets, If earthquakes scare us because we feel out of
ready. This plan will also be useful for other could be overwhelmed and unable to provide you with immediate assistance. Providing first aid
home. Only turn off the gas if you smell or hear or home. control, think how much more true this must be
emergencies. and having supplies will save lives, will make life more comfortable, and will help you cope after
leaking gas. for children, who already must depend on adults
C Install smoke alarms and test them monthly. the next earthquake.
for so much of their lives. It is important to spend
Change the battery once a year, or when the
time with children in your care before the next
alarm emits a “chirping” sound (low-battery In addition to your personal disaster supplies kits, store a household disaster supplies kit in an
signal). earthquake to explain why earthquakes occur.
easily accessible location (in a large watertight container that be easily moved), with a supply of
C Work with your neighbors to identify who has Involve them in developing your disaster plan,
the following items to last at least 3 days and ideally for 2 weeks:
skills and resources that will be useful in an prepare disaster supplies kits, and practice “drop,
emergency, and who may need special attention cover, and hold on.” Consider simulating post-
www.dropcoverholdon.org C Water (minimum one gallon a day for each person C Canned and packaged foods
(children, elderly, disabled, etc.)
and pet, for drinking, cooking, and sanitation) C Charcoal or gas grill for outdoor cooking and earthquake conditions by going without electricity
C Check with your city or county to see if there is a
Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) in
C Wrenches to turn off gas and water supplies matches if needed or tap water.
your area. If not, ask how to start one.
C Work gloves and protective goggles C Cooking utensils, including a manual can opener
C Heavy duty plastic bags for waste, and to serve C Pet food and pet restraints After the earthquake, remember that children will
as tarps, rain ponchos, and other uses C Comfortable, warm clothing including extra socks be under great stress. They may be frightened,
C Portable radio with extra batteries (or hand C Blankets or sleeping bags, and perhaps even
their routine will probably be disrupted, and the
crank for charging) a tent
aftershocks won’t let them forget the experience.
C Additional flashlights or light sticks C Copies of vital documents such as insurance
policies Adults tend to leave their children in order to deal
with the many demands of the emergency, but this
Use and replace perishable items like water, food, medications and batteries on a yearly basis. can be devastating to children. Extra contact and
support from parents in the early days will pay
off later. Whenever possible, include them in the
recovery process.
step 2 before the earthquake step 3 before the earthquake

16 17
What should I do?

Earthquake insurance in California


What should I do?

Structural-Safety Quiz If you own your home it is probably your


for Single-Family Home or Duplex biggest single asset. You have worked hard
to secure your piece of the American Dream
If you live in a single-family home or duplex, the strength of your home by becoming a homeowner. In seconds, your
depends on when it was built, its style of construction, and its location. dream can become a nightmare when an
earthquake strikes and damages your home
My score
and personal belongings. Even if you follow
1. When was your home built?
the steps in this handbook, it is likely your
#4 C Before 1960 = 5 points

C 1961–1978 = 3 points home will still have some level of damage,


C After 1978 = 1 point and you will need to repair or replace belong-
IDENTIFY YOUR BUILDING’S 2. How tall is your home? ings. One option for managing these potential
POTENTIAL WEAKNESSES AND C 2 or more stories with living area above a garage = 5 points costs is to buy earthquake insurance.
BEGIN TO FIX THEM. C Split level, on a hillside or gentle slope = 6 points
C 1 story, 3 or more steps up to the front door = 4 points Earthquake insurance in California is typically
C 1 story, less than 3 steps up to the front door = 1 point not part of your homeowners insurance pol-
Buildings are designed to withstand the down-
3. How hard is the ground likely to shake icy; it is generally a separate policy you can
ward pull of gravity, yet earthquakes shake a
under your home? purchase when buying homeowners insurance.
building in all directions — up and down, but C Portions of southern California shown as yellow or green
All insurance companies that sell residential
most of all, sideways. There are several com- in color on the shaking hazard map (page 7) = 5 points
1 This cutaway diagram shows how weak cripple walls can be strengthened by properly attached property insurance in California are required
mon issues that can limit a building’s ability plywood sheets. [Illustration credit: San Leandro EQ RetroÞt Program]
C Elsewhere in southern California = 7 points

by law to offer earthquake insurance to hom-


to withstand this sideways shaking. TOTAL POINTS
eowners when the policy is first sold and then
If your home scores 13 or more points
Additional information, including Common building problems on the quiz, you probably should have every two years thereafter.
how-to instructions, is available at an engineer, architect, or contractor
Most houses are not as safe as they could be. Unbraced cripple walls. Homes with a crawl evaluate it unless it has been strength- The cost of the earthquake policy you are
www.daretoprepare.org ened in the past few years. offered is based on a number of factors,
The following presents some common struc- space should have panels of plywood connect-
tural problems and how to recognize them. ing the studs of the short “cripple” walls (see including your home’s location, age, con-
Once you determine if your building has one figure). You or a contractor can strengthen the struction type, and value. It is up to each
or more of these problems, prioritize how cripple walls relatively inexpensively. homeowner to consider their individual risk
For those who rent If you live in a mobile home...
and when to fix them, and get started. factors and then weigh the cost of earthquake
Soft first stories. Look for larger openings coverage against the benefits that coverage
As a renter, you have less control over the Look under your home. If you only see a
Inadequate foundations. Look under your in the lower floor, such as a garage door may offer after a devastating earthquake.
structural integrity of your building, but metal or wood “skirt” on the outside with
Don’t be fooled!

house at your foundation. If the foundation is or a hillside house built on stilts. Consult a
you do control which apartment or house concrete blocks or steel tripods or jacks
damaged or built in the “pier and post” style, professional to determine if your building is Many companies issue California Earthquake
you rent: supporting your home, you need to have
consult a contractor or engineer about replac- adequately braced. Authority (CEA) insurance policies, which
an “engineered tie-down system” or an
ing it with a continuous perimeter foundation. • Structures made of unreinforced brick or are designed to rebuild your home if it suffers
Unreinforced masonry. All masonry (brick block walls can collapse and cause great “earthquake-resistant bracing system”
Look for bolts in the mudsills. They should significant damage from an earthquake.
“W E HAVE GOOD or block walls) should be reinforced. Some loss of life. (ERBS) installed. An ERBS should have a
#4

be no more than 1.8 meters (6 feet) apart in


BUIL DI N G CODES S O communities have a program for retrofitting • Apartment buildings with “tuck-under” label on the bracing that says, “Complies You may purchase a CEA policy only
W E MUST HAVE GOOD a single story and 1.2 meters (4 feet) apart in
MYTH

parking space openings can also collapse. with the California Administrative Code, through the CEA’s participating insurers.
BUIL DI N GS.” buildings made of unreinforced masonry.
a multistory building. Adding bolts to unse- • Foundation and cripple wall failures can
If your house has masonry as a structural Title 25, Chapter 2, Article 7.5.” A complete list is on the CEA web site at
cured houses is one of the most important cause expensive damage but less loss of life.
The best building codes in the element consult a structural engineer to find • Objects attached to the sides of buildings, www.earthquakeauthority.com, which has an
steps toward earthquake safety. This can be
world do nothing for build- what can be done. Inadequately braced such as staircases, balconies, and decora- online premium calculator.
ings built before a code was
done by a contractor or by someone skilled at
chimneys are a more common problem. tions, can break off in earthquakes.
enacted. While the codes home maintenance. Contact your homeowners insurance company
Consult a professional to determine if your
have been updated, the older Ask your landlord these questions: or agent to help you evaluate your earthquake
buildings are still in place.
chimney is safe.
risk factors and then consider whether earth-
Fixing problems in older build- • What retrofitting has been done on this
building? quake insurance is a good choice for you.
ings — retrofitting — is the
responsibility of the building’s
• Have the water heaters been strapped to the
wall studs?
owner.
step 4 before the earthquake • Can I secure furniture to the walls?

18 19
What should I do?

Check for injuries


#6
What should I do?

• Check your first aid kit or the front pages


of your telephone book for detailed

Don’t be fooled!
AFTER THE EARTHQUAKE, instructions on first aid measures.
#5 CHECK FOR INJURIES AND DAMAGE • If a person is bleeding, put direct pressure
on the wound. Use clean gauze or cloth, if
First take care of your own situation. available.
PROTECT YOURSELF DURING
• If a person is not breathing, administer “EVE RY ONE W IL L PANIC
EARTHQUAKE SHAKING— Remember your emergency plans.
DURI N G THE BIG O NE !”

#6
Aftershocks may cause additional damage rescue breathing.
DROP, COVER, AND HOLD ON.

MYTH
or items to fall, so get to a safe location. • If a person has no pulse, begin CPR A common belief is that
Take your disaster supplies kit. (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). people always panic and run
The previous pages have concentrated on
• Do not move seriously injured persons around madly during and after
getting ready for the next earthquake. What earthquakes, creating more
If you are trapped by falling items or a unless they are in immediate danger of
should you do during and after earthquakes? danger for themselves and
collapse, protect your mouth, nose, and eyes further injury. others. Actually, research
The area near the exterior walls of a building from dust. If you are bleeding, put pressure • Cover injured persons with blankets or shows that people usually
is the most dangerous place to be. Windows, If you are… Driving: Pull over to the side of the road, on the wound and elevate the injured part. additional clothing to keep them warm. take protective actions and
Signal for help with your emergency whistle, help others both during and
facades and architectural details are often the stop, and set the parking brake. Avoid • Get medical help for serious injuries.
Indoors: Drop, cover, and hold on. Drop to after the shaking. Most people
first parts of the building to collapse. To stay overpasses, bridges, power lines, signs and a cell phone, or knock loudly on solid pieces • Carefully check children or others needing don’t get too shaken up about
away from this danger zone, stay inside if you the floor, take cover under a sturdy desk or other hazards. Stay inside the vehicle until of the building, three times every few min- special assistance. being shaken up!
are inside and outside if you are outside. table, and hold on to it firmly. Be prepared the shaking is over. If a power line falls on utes. Rescue personnel will be listening for
to move with it until the shaking stops. If the car, stay inside until a trained person such sounds.
Learn more about what to do (and what not to you are not near a desk or table, drop to the removes the wire. Check for damage
do) to protect yourself during earthquakes at floor against the interior wall and protect your Once you are safe, help others and check for
www.dropcoverholdon.org. head and neck with your arms. Avoid exterior In a stadium or theater: Stay at your seat and damage. Protect yourself by wearing sturdy • Fire. If possible, put out small fires in • Downed Power Lines. If you see downed
walls, windows, hanging objects, mirrors, protect your head and neck with your arms. shoes and work gloves, to avoid injury from your home or neighborhood immediately. power lines, consider them energized and
tall furniture, large appliances, and kitchen Don’t try to leave until the shaking is over. broken glass and debris. Also wear a dust Call for help, but don’t wait for the fire stay well away from them. Keep others away
cabinets with heavy objects or glass. Do not Then walk out slowly watching for anything mask and eye protection. department. from them. Never touch downed power
go outside! that could fall in the aftershocks. • Gas Leaks. Shut off the main gas valve only lines or any objects in contact with them.
if you suspect a leak because of broken • Fallen Items. Beware of items tumbling off
In bed: If you are in bed, hold on and stay Near the shore: Drop, cover and hold on pipes or the odor or sound of leaking shelves when you open closet and
there, protecting your head with a pillow. You until the shaking stops. Estimate how long natural gas. Don’t turn it back on yourself cupboard doors.
are less likely to be injured staying where the shaking lasts. If severe shaking lasts 20 — wait for the gas company to check • Spills. Use extreme caution. Clean up any
Don’t be fooled!

you are. Broken glass on the floor has caused seconds or more, immediately evacuate to for leaks. The phone book has detailed spilled medicines, drugs, or other non-toxic
injury to those who have rolled to the floor or high ground as a tsunami might have been information on this topic. substances. Potentially harmful materials
tried to get to doorways. generated by the earthquake. Move inland 3 • Damaged Electrical Wiring. Shut off power such as bleach, lye, garden chemicals, and
“HE AD F OR THE kilometers (2 miles) or to land that is at least at the main breaker switch if there is any gasoline or other petroleum products should
In a high-rise: Drop, cover, and hold on. 30 meters (100 feet) above sea level immedi-
DOORW AY .” damage to your house wiring. Leave the be isolated or covered with an absorbent
#5

Avoid windows and other hazards. Do not use ately. Don’t wait for officials to issue a warn- power off until the damage is repaired. such as dirt or cat litter. When in doubt,
MYTH

An enduring earthquake elevators. Do not be surprised if sprinkler ing. Walk quickly, rather than drive, to avoid • Broken Lights and Appliances. Unplug these leave your home.
image of California is a col- systems or fire alarms activate. traffic, debris and other hazards. as they could start fires when electricity is • Damaged Masonry. Stay away from chimneys
lapsed adobe home with the
door frame as the only stand- Outdoors: Move to a clear area if you can restored. and walls made of brick or block. They
ing part. From this came our
Below a dam: Dams can fail during a major
safely do so; avoid power lines, trees, signs, may be weakened and could topple during
belief that a doorway is the earthquake. Catastrophic failure is unlikely,
buildings, vehicles, and other hazards. aftershocks. Don’t use a fireplace with a
safest place to be during an but if you live downstream from a dam, you
earthquake. True—if you live damaged chimney. It could start a fire or let
should know flood-zone information and have
in an old, unreinforced adobe poisonous gases into your home.
prepared an evacuation plan.
house. In modern houses,
doorways are no stronger
than any other part of the
house. You are safer under
a table.
step 5 during the earthquake step 6 after the earthquake

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What should I do?

The first weeks after the earthquake… If you cannot stay in your home…
What should I do?

This is a time of transition. Although after- If your home is structurally unsafe or threat-
shocks may continue, you will now work ened by a fire or other hazard, you need to
toward getting your life, your home and
family, and your routines back in order.
evacuate. However, shelters may be over-
crowded and initially lack basic services, so
Step 2
Create a disaster-
Emotional care and recovery are just as
important as healing physical injuries and
do not leave home just because utilities are
out of service or your home and its contents
Step 1 preparedness plan.
Identify and fix hazards
rebuilding a home. Make sure your home is
safe to occupy and not in danger of collapse
have suffered moderate damage.

If you evacuate, tell a neighbor and your


in your home. Step 3
in aftershocks. If you were able to remain in
out-of-area contact where you are going. As
Prepare disaster
your home or return to it after a few days, you supplies kits.
WHEN SAFE, CONTINUE The first days after the earthquake… soon as possible, set up an alternative mailing
will have a variety of tasks to accomplish:
#7 TO FOLLOW YOUR
DISASTER PREPAREDNESS
Use the information you put together in your
• If your gas was turned off, you will need to
address with the post office. Take the follow-
ing, if possible, when you evacuate:
disaster plan and the supplies you organized
PLAN. arrange for the gas company to turn it back
in your disaster kits. Until you are sure there • Personal disaster supplies kits B E
on. F
are no gas leaks, do not use open flames • Medications and eyewear >
• If the electricity went off and then came >>
• Supply of water, food, and snacks

O
Once you have met your and your family’s (lighters, matches, candles, or grills) or oper-

n
ai
back on, check your appliances and elec-
• Blanket/pillow/air mattress or sleeping pad

ag
immediate needs after an earthquake, continue ate any electrical or mechanical device that

R
tronic equipment for damage.

and start
to follow the plan you prepared in advance can create a spark (light switches, generators, • Change of clothing and a jacket
• If water lines broke, look for water damage.

E
(see Step 2, page 16). Aftershocks will continue motor vehicles, etc.). Never use the following • Towel and washcloth
• Locate and/or replace critical documents
to happen for several weeks after major earth- indoors: camp stoves, gas lanterns or heaters, • Diapers, food, and other supplies for infants
that may have been misplaced, damaged,
quakes. Some may be large enough to cause gas or charcoal grills, or gas generators. These • A few family pictures or other comfort
or destroyed.
additional damage. Always be ready to drop, can release deadly carbon monoxide or be a items
• Contact your insurance agent or company

R
cover, and hold on. fire hazard in aftershocks. • Personal identification and copies of house-

D
right away to begin your claims process.

E
U
hold and health insurance information. T R
Your recovery period can take several weeks • Contact the Federal Emergency IN

to months or longer. Take the actions listed


Be in communication
• Turn on your portable or car radio for infor- Management Agency (FEMA) to find out Do not take to a shelter:
A F G
Step 4
below to be safe and to minimize the long- about financial assistance by visiting
mation and safety advisories.
• Pets (Service animals for people with
Identify and fix
term effects of the earthquake on your life. www.fema.gov/about/process/. your building’s
• Place all phones back on their cradles.
• Call your out-of-area contact, tell them your
disabilities are allowed; take food for them.
Have a plan for your pets in advance.)
Step 7 weaknesses.
status, then stay off the phone. Emergency When safe,
• Large quantities of unnecessary clothing
responders need to use the phone lines for continue to
or other personal items
life-saving communications. follow your
• Valuables that might be lost, stolen, or take disaster plan.
• Check on the condition of your neighbors.

Food and water


up needed space
Step 6 Step 5
Once a Presidential Declaration has been Drop, cover,
• If power is off, plan meals to use up refrig-
Check for injuries
issued, FEMA may activate the Individuals and damage. and hold on.
erated and frozen foods first. If you keep and Households Program (www.fema.gov/
the door closed, food in your freezer may about/process/). This program includes:
be good for a couple of days.
• Home-repair cash grants; the maximum
• Listen to your radio for safety advisories. Once you have recovered from the earthquake, go back to
• If your water is off or unsafe, you can drink Federal grant available (as of 2005) is
Step 1 and do the things you did not do before, or do them
from water heaters, melted ice cubes, or 1 Sleeping bags and flashlights may $26,200
be quite handy in the days or weeks • Housing Assistance in the form of reim- more thoroughly. Learn from what happened during the
canned vegetables. Avoid drinking water
after a major earthquake. earthquake so you will be safer and recover more quickly
from swimming pools or spas. bursement for short-term lodging at a hotel
• Do not eat or drink anything from open • Rental assistance for as long as 18 months next time.
containers that are near shattered glass. in the form of cash payment
• If no other housing is available, FEMA may
provide mobile homes or other temporary
step 7 after the earthquake housing

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