Family Earthquake Plan

Know Your Environment
Safest Place in the House
During an earthquake, stay away from heavy furniture, appliances, large panes of glass, shelves holding heavy objects and masonry veneer (such as a fireplace). These items tend to fall or break and can injure you. Usually, a hallway is one of the safest places if it is not crowded with objects. Kitchens and garages tend to be the most dangerous. Also, know the safest place in each room. It will be difficult to move from one place to another during a severe earthquake.

Exits & Alternate Exits
Know the possible ways to exit your house and workplace in emergency situations.

Location of Shutoff Valves

Know the location of the shutoff valves for water, gas, and electricity, and how to operate the valves. If you are not sure, contact your utility company.

Make Special Provisions
Elderly, Disabled, or Persons on Medication
These people may have difficulty moving around after an earthquake. Plan to have someone help them evacuate if necessary. They may need special foods or medications. Be sure to store several days' worth of these items.

Persons Who Do Not Speak English
People who cannot speak English often rely on their family or friends for information. If they are separated during an earthquake, they may need help. Prepare emergency cards in English that include name, address and any special needs.

After an earthquake, you should be concerned with your personal safety before taking care of your pets. Storing extra food and water for pets is always a good idea. Keep pets in a secure place at home after an earthquake. If you evacuate, they will not be allowed in an emergency shelter.

Know Community Resources
Police & Fire
Know the locations and phone numbers of the nearest fire and police station. Contact them only for emergency response.

Shelter & Medical Care
After a damaging earthquake, emergency shelters, and temporary medical centers will be set up in your community. Contact your local office of Emergency Services to find out the plans for your area.

Community Assistance

It may be several days before outside assistance arrives. Know your neighbors and their skills. You may be able to help each other after an earthquake. Be prepared to assist outside your neighborhood.

Plan to Meet
Family Plan
Decide where and how your family will reunite. Choose a location outside your neighborhood where family members can reunite if unable to return home. Choose a person outside the immediate area to contact if family members are separated. Long distance phone service will probably be restored sooner than local service. Do not use the phone immediately after an earthquake to reunite your family.

Plan for Children

Know the policies of the school or daycare center your children attend. Make plans to have someone pick them up if, after an earthquake, you are unable to do so.

Plan Responsibilities
Develop a plan with your family, friends, and neighbors assigning specific responsibilities to each person. Including children when assigning responsibilities will help calm their fears and make them feel useful. Remember that it may be difficult to get around after an earthquake, so each person's task should be related to where he or she may be.