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Earthquakes: Before, During, and After


The following information includes general guidelines for earthquake preparedness and safety. The Santa Barbara County Fire Department wants you and your family to be safe in the event of an earthquake.

What to do before an earthquake

Look for items in your home that could become a hazard in an earthquake.

  1. Secure water heaters and gas appliances (install automatic gas shut offs).
  2. Place heavy objects on lower shelves and fasten shelves to walls. Brace high and top heavy objects from falling over.
  3. Store breakable objects on low shelves or in cabinets that fasten shut.
  4. Know where and how to turn off your utilities.
  5. Hold earthquakes drills with your household.
  6. Develop a plan for reuniting your family.
  7. Review your insurance policies.
  8. Prepare to survive on your own for at least three days.

What to do during an earthquake

Most injuries during earthquakes occur when people are hit by falling objects when entering or exiting buildings.

  1. If you are indoors, Drop, Cover and Hold On! Minimize your movements. Stay indoors until it is safe.
  2. Take cover under something sturdy. Stand next to walls and away from windows.
  3. If you are outdoors, stay there. Move away from buildings, streetlights, and utility wires.
  4. If you are in a vehicle, stop when safe. Avoid stopping near or under building, trees, overpasses or utility wires.

What to do after an earthquake

Be prepared for aftershocks.

  1. Check for injuries, and call for help if necessary.
  2. Check your home for structural damage.
  3. Visually inspect utility lines and damage to gas and water lines. Turn off utilities if necessary.
  4. Listen to news reports for latest emergency updates.
  5. Check and assist your neighbors if you are able to.

The Santa Barbara County Fire Department hopes these safety tips will assist you in preparing yourself and your family in the event of an earthquake.

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