How to prepare:
- Inventory your belongings using photos or videos to assist in insurance claims after an earthquake. A video tour of your house will give claims agents a better understanding of the condition of your walls, flooring, light fixtures, etc.
- Secure your space by fastening large movable items to the wall, bracing overhead light fixtures, and securing top-heavy objects.
- Store breakable items in low cabinets with latches.
- Repair any deep cracks in ceilings or foundations.
- Hang heavy items such as mirrors, art, or pictures away from couches and beds.
- Keep a flashlight and pair of shoes next to each family member’s bed in case an earthquake strikes in the middle of the night.
- Make sure your home is securely anchored to its foundation.
- Learn how to shut off the gas valves in your home; keep a wrench handy for that purpose.
- Locate the safe spots in each room so that you know where to go when an earthquake strikes.
- Practice “stop, drop, and hold on,” with family earthquake drills.
- Develop a communication plan. If disaster strikes, who will call and check on each family member/friend? What number is best to reach each person?
- Pick a spot with your family to meet if you are separated when disaster strikes, or if you get separated during an evacuation.
- Keep an emergency kit prepared ahead of time.
How to recover:
- Stay on your guard; aftershocks, landslides, or a tsunami may follow the earthquake.
- Be careful when driving after an earthquake and anticipate traffic light outages.
- Turn on your car radio and listen for advisories; most radio stations can broadcast emergency information.
- Check yourself for injuries before helping others.
- Help those who are injured or trapped, particularly neighbors who may require special assistance. Do not move seriously injured people unless they are in danger of being further injured.
- If available, put on long pants, a shirt with long sleeves, sturdy shoes, and gloves to protect yourself against injury from broken objects.
- Watch animals closely. Leash dogs and place them in a fenced yard. Normally quiet and friendly cats and dogs may become aggressive or defensive after an earthquake.
- Fires are the most common hazards after an earthquake; look for and extinguish any small flames that you see.
- Watch for loose plaster, drywall, and ceilings that could fall.
- Clean up spilled medications, bleach, gasoline, and other flammable liquids immediately.
- Keep an eye out for fallen gas and power lines.
- Inspect your utilities for leaks and damage.
- Take pictures or video of the damage, both of the house and its contents, for insurance claims.
Are you a AAA policyholder who needs to speak with a claims agent?