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What do I do immediately after an earthquake?

After An Earthquake

Mark Benthien (Director of Communication, Education, and Outreach, Southern California Earthquake Center ) gives expert video advice on: What do I do immediately after an earthquake?; What do I do if I find myself trapped after an earthquake?; How do I purify my drinking water after an earthquake? and more...

What do I do immediately after an earthquake?

After an earthquake, if you're okay, you'll want to start checking others to make sure that they're okay. Check for injuries, treat the injuries as best as you can, call for help if needed and then also start to check for damage in your building and environment.

What do I do if I find myself trapped after an earthquake?

After an earthquake if you're trapped, perhaps if furniture has fallen on you, or the building has collapsed, if possible protect yourself from dust. Cover your mouth, your nose and your eyes with your shirt or something so you won't be breathing in dust. If you're bleeding, put pressure on the wound and elevate the wound in part. Then, if possible, signal for help. If you have a whistle, blow the whistle. If you have any type of thing that you can make noise with, use it, you can even be tapping on the building. Tap three times every few minutes. That's the sound that rescuers will be listening for.

Should I stay inside immediately after an earthquake?

After an earthquake, if you've assessed your property and it's structurally sound, you don't notice any gas leaks or any other issues, then it's OK to stay inside. In fact, depending on the time of the year, you need that shelter: it may be cold, raining, etc. It is OK to stay inside the home after an earthquake. You do want to be ready for aftershocks that may cause additional shaking and additional damage. Stay in the home. Don't think that you have to go camping in your backyards.

How long should I plan to be self-sufficient after an earthquake?

Depending on the size of the earthquake, you may need to be self-sufficient anywhere from three days up to a week, or even longer. This may include lack of food, water and medical attention. You're going to need to be paddling on your own after an earthquake until help can arrive.

What are other potable sources of water in my home?

Sources of water that you can drink in your home include the water that's in your water heater (there's a lot of water in your water heater), the water in your toilet tank (the reservoir, not the bowl), water in ice cubes as they melt, and even water in canned fruits and vegetables. All these are water that you can drink and help you survive in the days following an earthquake.