After

Safety Tips for Afterwards
  • Be prepared for after shocks.
    • Although smaller than the main shock, after shocks cause additional damage and may bring weakened structures down.
    • After shocks can occur in the first hours, days, weeks, or even months after the quake.
  • Help injured or trapped persons.
    • Give first aid where appropriate. Do not move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of further injury.
    • Call for help.
    • Listen to a battery-operated radio or television for the latest emergency information.
    • Remember to help your neighbors who may require special assistance, such as infants, the elderly, and people with disabilities.
  • Stay out of damaged buildings. Return home only when authorities say it is safe. Inspecting utilities in a damaged home
    • Check for gas leaks. If you smell gas or hear blowing or hissing noise, open a window and quickly leave the building. Turn off the gas at the outside main valve if you can and call the gas company from a neighbor's home. If you turn off the gas for any reason, it must be turned back on by a professional.
    • Look for electrical system damage. If you see sparks or broken or frayed wires, or if you smell hot insulation, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. If you have to step in water to get to the fuse box or circuit breaker, call an electrician first for advice.
    • Check for sewage and water lines damage. If you suspect sewage lines are damaged, avoid using the toilets and call a plumber. If water pipes are damaged, contact the water company and avoid using water from the tap. You can obtain safe water by melting ice cubes.
  • Use the telephone only for emergency calls.
  • Clean up spilled medicines, bleaches, or gasoline or other flammable liquids immediately. Leave the area if you smell gas or fumes from other chemicals.
  • Open closet and cupboard doors cautiously.
  • Inspect the entire length of chimneys carefully for damage.
    • Unnoticed damage could lead to a fire.
  • Check your pets.
    • The behavior of pets may change dramatically after an earthquake. Normally quiet and friendly cats and dogs may become aggressive or defensive. Watch animals closely. Leash dogs and place them in a fenced yard.
    • Pets may not be allowed into shelters for health and space reasons. Prepare an emergency pen for pets in the home that includes a three day supply of dry food and a large container of water.
  • Mitigation includes any activities that prevent an emergency, reduce the chance of an emergency happening, or lessen the damaging effects of unavoidable emergencies. Investing in preventive mitigation steps now such as repairing deep plaster cracks in ceilings and foundations, anchoring overhead lighting fixtures to the ceiling and following local seismic building standards, will help reduce the impact of earthquakes in the future.