Friday, March 11, 2011

Emergency Procedures for an Earthquake

With the Earthquake in Japan it is a good time to spend a minute at Family Home Evening to review the following to protect and prepare your family in the event of an earthquake.

Before an Earthquake
  • Secure water heater, storage shelves, heavy mirrors, shelves, etc. to walls.
  • Place large or heavy objects on lower shelves
  • Know where and how to shut off electricity, gas and water at main switches and valves.
  • Have earthquake drills- identify safe spots in each room.
  • Have an out-of-state contact person.
  • Develop a plan for reuniting your family after an earthquake.
  • Review your insurance policies.
  • Keep a good pair of shoes and a flashlight near your bed.
  • Prepare to survive on your own for at least three days. See "Your Family Disaster Supplies Kit - 72 Hour Kit"  for instructions.*
During an Earthquake
  • Stay calm.
  • Inside: stay inside and find protection in a doorway, or crouch under a desk or table, away from windows, glass, brick walls and chimneys.
  • Outside: stand away from buildings, trees, telephones and electric lines.
  • On the road: drive away from under-passes/over-passes; stop in a safe area; stay in your vehicle. 
  • In an office building: stay next to a pillar or column, or under a heavy table or desk.
  • Stay where you are until the shaking has stopped and you are sure it is safe to move. 
Remain calm and stay inside during and earthquake. Most injurines during earthquakes occur when people are hit by falling debris when entering or exiting buildings.

If you must go out after an earthquake, watch for fallen objects, downed electrical wires, weakened walls, bridges, roads, and sidewalks.
After and Earthquake
  • Check for injuries. Provide first aid.
  • Check for fires; gas, water, sewage breaks; downed electric lines; building damage and potential problems during after shocks, such as cracks around fireplace and foundation. Turn off interrupted utilities as necessary.
  • Clean up dangerous spills.
  • Wear shoes and leather gloves.
  • Tune radio to an emergency station and listen for instructions from public safety agencies.
  • Use the telephone only for emergencies.
  • As soon as possible, notify family that you are safe.
  • Do not use matches or open flames until you are sure there are no gas leaks.
  • Don't turn light switches off and on. Sprarks created by the switch contacts can ignite gas furmes.
  • In public buildings, follow evacuation procedures immediately and return only after the building has been declared safe by the appropriate authorities. 
Utah is earthquake country. Earthquakes can strike at any time without warning, causing major damage to homes and critical infrastructure. They are almost always followed by aftershocks that can be even larger than the initial quake. Estimates in the Journal of Geophysical Research show that the probability of a major earthquake along the Wasatch fault alone may be 13% in 50 years and 25% in 100 years. Additionally, the probability for an earthquake on the Salt Lake segment of the Wasatch fault may be as high as 75% in 100 years.

Information taken from SLVHD Salt Lake Valley Health Department- Family Emergency Preparedness Guide.
For a pdf of this booklet go to 
*The 72 Hour Kit is on pp. 4-9 of this booklet.