Quakes strike without warning, leaving little time to act. Do you have emergency supplies and a plan in place? Being prepared is key to staying safe during an earthquake. Here’s how to prepare for an earthquake ahead of time.

Secure Your Home

Check your home for earthquake hazards. FEMA offers a helpful poster that includes an earthquake preparation checklist advising you to secure items like water heaters, tall furniture, fixtures and more. If you own your home, assess your structure and enlist a professional to help you fix any weak areas.

Make an Earthquake Preparation Kit 

Use a portable container to stash ​emergency ​supplies like drinking water, nonperishable food, blankets and first-aid supplies. If the earthquake is severe, you could be cut off from emergency assistance for several days. You should also create an earthquake preparation ​kit for each car you own. 

Create an Emergency Preparedness Plan 

Next, you’ll need an emergency plan. You may get separated from family when an earthquake happens, so decide where you’ll all go in the event of an emergency. Have an evacuation plan in place that includes potential safe spots in different directions since you won’t know which routes will be navigable. Designate an out-of-state contact person everyone knows how to reach in the event cell communication is disabled and you are unable to connect with each other. This FEMA guide offers earthquake safety tips that will help you create a family emergency communication plan.

Think About Your Pets 

Pets are members of the family, too. Prepare a ready-to-go animal emergency pack. Many shelters don’t accept pets other than service animals, so review lists of hotels that are pet-friendly in the event you must evacuate. Place stickers on your windows so emergency responders know you have pets. Make sure your pets wear proper identification and current tags at all times. Having current photos of your pet handy on your phone will be helpful if they go missing and you need to alert others.

Stay Safe Indoors and Outdoors

Practice DROP, COVER, HOLD ON. If you’re indoors during an earthquake, stay there. As soon as you sense shaking, drop to your hands and knees so you aren’t knocked off balance. Cover your head and neck. If possible, crawl under a sturdy table or get near an interior wall. Hold on to whatever you’re using for shelter. Be mindful of furniture that could fall on you. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers additional earthquake safety tips for indoors.

If you’re outside when an earthquake starts, stay there. Do not try to get inside, and stay away from buildings. Avoid utility and fuel lines. Go to an open area and get down on your hands and knees as soon as possible. Cover your head and neck. If you’re in a vehicle, stop safely and move to the side of the road, away from wires and under- or overpasses. Stay in your car and use the radio to listen for emergency alerts.

Watch Out for Aftershocks

If your home or area has incurred damage, look for hazards like fires, gas leaks, exposed wiring and unstable structures that could cause further damage or injury during aftershocks, which are common.

We’re Here to Help You Weather the Storm

We hope these tips help you rest easy knowing you’ve mastered how to prepare for an earthquake. And while we hope you never experience an earthquake, your Farm Bureau agent will be there to assist if you do.