The Big One  

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How Can We Prepare?

You can prepare for a large earthquake. Here’s how to go about it. Remember that earthquakes are inevitable, but damage is not!

What you can do now

Make a kit. An emergency kit should include everything you and your family would need in order to spend 72 hours on your own.

Make a plan. Create a family emergency plan and practice it! Be sure a plan is in place at your workplace or school. If you live near a shoreline, become familiar with tsunami evacuation routes.

Strap things down. Strap your hot water heater to the wall (use heavy strapping that completely encircles the tank). Be sure your house is bolted to the foundation. Secure other large appliances, bookshelves, and filing cabinets. Don’t hang heavy objects over your desk or bed.

What you should do when an earthquake strikes

Drop, cover, and hold. Get under or beside something bigger than you. Get under a sturdy piece of furniture and hold on, or lie beside a bed or sofa. Cover your head and wait for the shaking to stop.

If you’re inside, move away from windows, brick fireplaces, appliances, or anything that could fall. If you’re outside, move to a clear area away from buildings, trees, poles, and utility wires. If you’re outside downtown, duck into a doorway to protect yourself from falling bricks, glass, and other debris.

If you’re indoors, don’t run outside.
If you’re driving, pull over and stop at a safe place, and stay in your car until the shaking stops. And don’t forget your family contact arrangements.


What you should do when the shaking stops

Follow tsunami signs. If you’re near the shoreline in a tsunami hazard area, follow evacuation signs or head for higher ground.

Check for injuries. Check yourself and those around you for injuries. Provide assistance to your neighbors, especially those who may need extra help.

Keep phone lines free. Call 911 only to report a life-threatening emergency. Don’t make local calls right away. Include an out-of-area phone contact in your family emergency plan. Listen to the radio for news, instructions, or an official "all clear."

  During the 2001 Nisqually earthquake, the land beneath this bike trail liquefied and flowed into Capitol Lake.

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