While earthquakes may be rare in Arizona, they are not unheard of. In fact, the Arizona Department of Emergency Management reports that every part of the state has felt quakes from time to time. In addition to causing damage in their immediate striking points, earthquakes can send tremors across neighboring areas, resulting in mudslides, rockslides, or flooding.
The most important step in earthquake preparedness is to eliminate those things in your home that can fall or cause injury or flames. From there, take the following precautions.
Before an Earthquake
- Create a Ready Kit and family communications plan. Your Ready Kit should provide for three (3) days' needs for your family.
- Make sure all members of the family know what to do in the event of an earthquake.
- Secure cabinets, bookcases, and mirrors using wall studs. Do not keep bookcases, large picture frames, or shelving next to or over beds, since these could topple over and cause injury.
- Check the integrity of outdoor structures such as animal cages and ramadas and keep in good repair.
- Store yard equipment in safe and assigned locations.
- Make sure all flammable materials are stored securely and safely to avoid spills. Keep propane and other chemicals or flammable liquids in a secure outdoor storage cabinet.
- Consider having roofs checked for stability. Unsecured clay tiles can fall and cause damage or injury.
- Move valuables to a safe, weatherproof location.
- Keep insurance policies up-to-date and stored safely.
During an Earthquake
- Drop to the ground, so the earthquake tremors do not knock you down. Help small children and seniors do the same.
- Cover yourself below a strong table or other secure structure. Falling objects cause many of the injuries during a quake. Cover your head and face to protect them from broken glass and falling objects.
- Hold onto your protective structure and be prepared to move with it.
- Remain in your secure position until the shaking stops. Do not try to run outside or use stairways or elevators during a quake.
- If you are in a vehicle, stop and crouch inside and keep your head and face covered.
After an Earthquake
- When tremors stop, leave the premises immediately.
- Follow your communications plan to reunite with family and loved ones.
- Check your building for cracks and structural damage, and take photos to record damage.
- Contact your insurance company if needed, and coordinate making any necessary repairs. Check www.azroc.gov to ensure repair people are licensed to perform the specific work required.