Are You Prepared for Earthquakes?

Are You Prepared for Earthquakes?

How do you prepare for the unexpected? What do you do when something you hoped you’d never experience suddenly happens?

While an earthquake can happen anywhere, there some parts of the United States that have a higher risk. People in Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Washington and the entire Mississippi River Valley are no strangers to their destruction.

So how do you protect yourself when the ground all around you is shaking and shifting? One piece of great advice is true: The best time to prepare for any disaster is before it happens.

Keep these tips from leaving site icon in mind to stay safe and protected. Follow these steps when an earthquake first starts:

If You Are Outdoors

Move to a clear area if you can safely do so. Avoid power lines, trees, signs, buildings, vehicles and other potential hazards. 

If You Are Driving

Pull over to the side of the road, stop and set the parking brake. Avoid overpasses, bridges, power lines, signs and other things that could fall on your car. Stay inside your car until the shaking is over. If a power line falls on your car, stay inside until a trained person removes the wire.

If You Are in a Building
  • DROP to the ground
  • TAKE COVER under a sturdy desk or table
  • HOLD ON until the shaking stops

The way to prepare for an emergency of any type is to be proactive. Create an emergency plan and make an emergency supply kit leaving site icon ahead of time. 

When you prepare in advance, you’ll instinctively know what to do when an earthquake strikes. Share your emergency plan with your friends and family so they can reach you. 

Sources: Earthquakes, leaving site icon, 2022; Emergency Planning Infographic, leaving site icon Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, 2022.

Originally published 10/11/2016; Revised 2020, 2023