Living in Alaska we have approximately 2000 earthquakes a year. Crazy, right? And after that nice shaker a few minutes ago (clocking in at 5.2 on the good ol’ Richter scale) I figured it was high time to officially investigate what to do in case of an earthquake and then of course share it with you! Unfortunately it is usually too late when people decide to prepare for a disaster ( see, me in the grocery store after the Japanese quakes a few months ago with a wild look in my eye and a cart full of panic finally putting my family’s safety kit together), so let’s do it before it’s needed, eh? And then we can give ourselves gold stars.

Before an Earthquake strikes:

  • Prepare a disaster supply kit– at home, at work, and for your car;
  • Secure bookcases, file cabinets, pictures, mirrors, etc. to walls. Include hot water heaters and other appliances, which could move and rupture gas or electrical lines;
  • Know where to locate switches and how to turn off home gas, electricity and water;
  • Develop a family plan for disasters;
  • Practice earthquake safety drills;
  • Be able to take care of yourself and your family for 5 to 7 days after a disaster, before emergency services may be able to reach you;
  • Know basic first aid;
  • Know emergency phone numbers;
  • Know how to open and close an automatic garage door manually.

During an Earthquake

  • Stay calm and stay where you are; if inside, stay inside; if outside, stay outside;
    • If inside: DROP – COVER – HOLD ON  Take cover under a heavy desk or against an inside wall away from glass and falling objects.
    • If outside: Safely move to a clear area, away from buildings, over passes, signs, utility lines and trees. Sit on the ground; do not stand up.
    • On the road: Drive away from underpasses and overpasses. Stop in a safe area. Stay in your vehicle.

After an Earthquake

  • Be prepared for aftershocks
  • Listen to the radio for public safety instructions; tune into KFQD 750 AM 
  • Check for injuries and provide first aid
  • Check for safety hazards: gas or water leaks, sewage breaks, downed power lines, etc. Check for any building damage & evacuate if dangerous.
  • Properly clean-up spilled medicines, bleaches and other hazardous materials
  • Phone lines should be kept as clear as possible for true emergency situations

** information courtesy the Municipality of Anchorage