Main Content

Preparing for an Earthquake: Three Easy Steps

Damage to a home from an earthquake in Calexico, California.
Calexico, CA, April 6, 2010 -- A magnitude
7.2 earthquake rocked the city on Easter leaving
many facilities, roads, and public buildings closed.
This photo shows damages at a home in the area.

Back in December, Tim Manning spoke about our efforts to prepare for a catastrophic earthquake along the New Madrid seismic zone on the anniversary of the historic earthquake that struck the Midwestern U.S. in 1811.

Since 2011 is the bicentennial anniversary, states across the central U.S. are recognizing February as Earthquake Awareness Month.  FEMA has teamed up with the Central U.S. Earthquake Consortium, the Institute for Business and Home Safety, and state and local partners to educate businesses and residents on ways to reduce the risk of earthquake damage through mitigation activities.

One way we're getting the word out is through an earthquake outreach tour in five states: Arkansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri and Tennessee.  During the week of February 7-11, leaders of this team effort, including FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, will be delivering the message of earthquake mitigation and preparedness.

But, you don't need to live along the New Madrid seismic zone to be vulnerable to the risks associated with earthquakes.  All Americans can reduce earthquake damage through low-cost mitigation activities and increase their personal preparedness by taking these three simple steps, now, before an earthquake hits:

Identify your Risk
Not all communities in a state or territory share the same risk from an earthquake, so reference the maps produced by the United States Geological Survey to see the risk to your specific community. 

To identify personal risk at home, try the Home Hazard Hunt.

Make a Plan
Both individuals and businesses can reduce the effects of earthquakes by making a plan.  Businesses can integrate earthquake mitigation and preparedness into their Business Continuity Plans, and for individuals, making a family emergency plan is a vital step to being prepared for any emergency.

Your family may not be together when an earthquake strikes, so it's important to know how you will contact one another, how you will meet up in a safe place and what you will do in case of an emergency.   It's also worthwhile to notify caregivers and babysitters about your plan, and make plans for your pets as well.

Take Action
There are a lot of simple and inexpensive ways to reduce the effects of earthquakes. From securing heavy pictures and mirrors at home, to strapping down merchandise and anchoring shelves at work, taking action now can go a long way to preventing damage and injuries later.

An emergency supply kit can literally be a life saver after an emergency.  Include items like non-perishable food, water, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, extra flashlights and batteries – enough that you will be able to sustain yourself for 72 hours.  Your kit should also include copies of prescription medications and important documents such as a driver's license and your Social Security card.

The public plays in important role in helping our nation prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters, so do your part this month and make sure you are prepared if an earthquake were to rattle your community.

- Sandra

Other links
- Businesses can visit to learn how to reduce your risks in three steps.

Last Updated: 
06/19/2012 - 18:36


Hello I am so delighted I found your blog, I really found you by mistake, while I was looking on Search Engine for something else, This message are obviously from your personal experience. It’s a authentic and fantastic for anyone. I will remain awhile for your message. Really I am impressed with your message content. Keep up the great work. I will bookmark your blog and have my friends check up here often. I am quite sure they will learn lots of new stuff here than anybody else . I respect you from the core of the heart. // IT Service

A great informative post very important for those who live in earthquake prone areas. Interestingly on the radio now is an interview with people who have just experienced the earthquake in New Zealand. <br />We are not prone to earthquakes here but your advice is relevant for any type of disasters thank you.

A great post, showing how important it is to share with families plans for disasters be it eartquake, flood, hurricane or terrorism. Having an energency pack ready is so important and escape routes planned, in place and known by all family members is essential. Communication also if you are not together is important too! Thanks for raising these issues

Add new comment

This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.