Earthquake preparedness thread - post your suggestions or questions


2fast 2live 2young 2die
Well, a whole lot of shakin going on today.
I figure a thread for veteran Californians and other safety minded individuals to help quake newbs get ready in case these get bigger...

What should we do to prepare?
What should be in the house?
What should we not do?

There is obviously lots of room for humor here but please try to keep this serious and informative.

I'll start with the Q&A from the USGS...
some of these answers run counter to my instincts (ie: stay indoors if indoors)

Q: During an EQ should you head for the doorway?

A: Only if you live in an old, unreinforced adobe house. In modern homes doorways are no stronger than any other parts of the house and usually have doors that will swing and can injure you. YOU ARE SAFER PRACTICING THE DUCK, COVER, AND HOLD under a sturdy piece of furniture.

Q: What emergency supplies do I need?

1.Fire extinguisher
2.Adequate supplies of medications that you or family members are taking
3.Crescent and pipe wrenches to turn off gas and water supplies
4.First-aid kit and handbook
5. Flashlights with extra bulbs and batteries
6. Portable radio with extra batteries
7.Water for each family member for at least two weeks (allow at least 1 gallon per person per day) and purification tablets or chlorine bleach to purify drinking water from other sources
8.Canned and package foods, enough for several days and MECHANICAL can opener. Extra food for pets if necessary
9.Camp stove or barbecue to cook on outdoors (store fuel out of the reach of children)
10.Waterproof, heavy-duty plastic bags for waste disposal.

Q: How can I plan ahead for an EQ?

1.Make sure each member of your family knows what to do no matter where they are when EQs occur:
◦Establish a mtg place where you can all reunite afterward
◦Find out about EQ plans developed by children's school or day care
◦ Remember transportation may be disrupted, keep some emergency supplies--food, liquids, and comfortable shoes, for example--at work
2.KNOW where your gas, electric and water main shutoffs are and how to turn them off if there is a leak or electrical short. Make sure older members of the family can shut off utilities
3.LOCATE your nearest fire and police stations and emergency medical facility
4.TALK to your neighbors--how could they help you, or you them after an EQ
5.TAKE Red Cross First Aid and CPR Training Course.

Q: What should I do during an EQ?

1.If you are INDOORS--STAY THERE! (Get under a desk or table and hang on to it, or move into a hallway or get against an inside wall. STAY CLEAR of windows, fireplaces, and heavy furniture or appliances. GET OUT of the kitchen, which is a dangerous place (things can fall on you). DON'T run downstairs or rush outside while the bldg is shaking or while there is danger of falling and hurting yourself or being hit by falling glass or debris.

2.If you are OUTSIDE-- get into the OPEN, away from bldgs, power lines, chimneys, and anything else that might fall on you.

3.If you are DRIVING--stop, but carefully. Move your car as far out of traffic as possible. DO NOT stop on or under a bridge or overpass or under trees, light posts, power lines, or signs. STAY INSIDE your car until the shaking stops. When you RESUME driving watch for breaks in the pavement, fallen rocks, and bumps in the road at bridge approaches.

4.If you are in a MOUNTAINOUS AREA--watch out for falling rock, landslides, trees, and other debris that could be loosened by quakes.

Q: Things NOT to do during an EQ?

1.DO NOT turn on the gas again if you turned it off; let the gas company do it

2.DO NOT use matches, lighters, camp stoves or barbecues, electrical equipment, appliances UNTIL you are sure there are no gas leaks. They may create a spark that could ignite leaking gas and cause an explosion and fire

3.DO NOT use your telephone, EXCEPT for a medical or fire emergency. You could tie up the lines needed for emergency response. If the phone doesn't work send someone for help

4.DO NOT expect firefighters, police or paramedics to help you. They may not be available.

Q: What can I expect in my house when an EQ occurs? How do I identify it? What can be done?

A: The contents of your home may be damaged and can be dangerous:

1.Shaking can make light fixtures fall, refrigerators and other large items move across the floor, and bookcases and television sets topple over. IDENTIFY: Look around your house for things that could fall or move

2.Ask yourself if your cupboard doors fly open (allowing dishes to shatter on the floor)

3.Is TV and stereo fastened down and are shelves fastened to wall? Do you have hanging plants or light fixtures that might fall? Is there a heavy picture or mirror on the wall over your bed?

Q: What do I do after an earthquake?

1.WEAR STURDY SHOES to avoid injury from broken glass and debris. Expect aftershocks

2.CHECK FOR INJURIES (if a person is bleeding, put direct pressure on the wound, use clean gauze or cloth if available; If a person is not breathing administer CPR; DO NOT attempt to move seriously injured persons unless they are in further danger of injury; COVER injured persons with blankets to keep warm; SEEK medical help for serious injuries

3.CHECK FOR HAZARDS (Fire hazards--put out fires in your home or neighborhood immediately, call for help; Gas leaks--shut off main gas valve ONLY if you suspect a leak because of broken pipes or odor; Damaged electrical wiring--Shut off power at the control box if there is any danger to house wiring; Downed or damaged utility lines--do not touch downed power lines or any objects in contact with them;
SPILLS--clean up any spilled medicines, drugs, or other harmful materials such as bleach, lye, gas;
DOWNED OR DAMAGED CHIMNEYS--Approach with caution--don't use damaged chimney (it could start fire or let poisonous gases into your house;
FALLEN ITEMS--beware of items tumbling off shelves when you open doors of closets and cupboards;
CHECK FOOD AND WATER SUPPLIES--Do not eat or drink anything from open containers near shattered glass; If power is off, plan meals to use up foods that will spoil quickly or frozen foods (food in the freezer should be good for at least a couple of days; Don't light your kitchen stove if you suspect a gas leak;
USE BBQ or camp stoves, outdoors only for emergency cooking; If your water is off you can drink supplies from water heaters, melted ice cubes or canned vegetables (AVOID drinking water from swimming pools or especially spas--it may have too many chemicals in it to be safe.)
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Staff member
I have a small bottle of Vodka stashed somewhere under the house in case of emergencies. I should probably up my game in that respect. Definitely should have a solid fifth of some good tequila and a nice bourbon to keep it company.

Sorry...I just saw that this was a serious thread. I'm a jerk.
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Well-known member
If you haven't tried it. Go Camping in a spot without electricity and water.
Take a bunch of stuff and see how it goes.

I found after taking all the obvious things. A Coffee Percolator and Lantern were two things forgot and sorely missed.


Red Power!
50 gallon plastic drum with water, medical supplies, tent, blankets, flashlight batteries, stove, food, flare, matches/lighter clothing and tarps should be ourside ext to your house! Money talks after an earthquake.

Txt - do not use your phone. The lines will be busy. If you can email do it. Have a preplanned meeting point at the closest park.


Well-known member
In San Francisco, the SFFD holds free classes for for NERT training.
Neighborhood Emergency Response Team. This is a hands on training
course and can be taken in any neighborhood. It's well worth the time.

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47% parasite 53% ahole
Money talks after an earthquake.

Whatever amount you feel you need you should keep on hand, and the bills should be small denominations (thanks barfer), if not, everything will cost a benjamin.
Extra pair of glasses if you wear perscription glasses.
Weapons and ammo.
5 gallons of gasoline.
And don't expect help, because you're already behind the game if you are expecting that someone will save you.


Well-known member
A simple kit can be done in one day. 10 gallons water per person. You can but the plastic big containers. Buy a bunch of canned tuna. It's not that tasty but it will keep you fed for a while. Flashlight and battery radio. Those things alone will keep you going for a week or two.

Do NOT Flush the toilet. The tank contains 2-5 gallons of clean water. Crap in a plastic bag if you have to.


Well-known member
If it happens in Oaklamd, don't forget to take your handgun with while looting. Or, if you don't loot, don't forget your handgun, to prevent people from looting your stuff.


2fast 2live 2young 2die
So on the water storage thing. How often should you refresh the supply if you have it sitting in a sealed clean container so that it is drinkable without further treatment? How do you know if it is good/bad Should you have chlorine tablets or a portable camping type purifier?


Pastafarian Minister
A bag, preferably with the following items: Ammo. Handgun. Ammo. Rifle. Ammo. MRE's. Ammo. Potable water containers. Ammo. Water tabs. Ammo. Compass. Ammo. Car charger for phone. Ammo. Socks. Ammo. First aid kit. Ammo. List of phone numbers and addresses. Ammo.


Well-known member
One thing about doorways - they usually don't have televisions, bookcases, ceiling fans, lamps, crockery, trophy cases, or whatever near them. Give me a door swinging over a bookcase failling any day of the week.


megalomaniacal troglodyte
Staff member
be sure to stretch regularly, so when the time comes you can put your head between your knees and kiss your ass goodbye