Updated: 20 May 2008
Here are some tips to help people survive possible major earthquakes.
It is extremely important that you do not use your telephone indiscriminately after an earthquake. The telephone lines will be jammed with emergency calls.
Put together a basic emergency kit for your home, your car and one for work. The home kit should provide the basic equipment and provisions needed by the family for at least 72 hours after a quake.
Look at each room in your home with "earthquake eyes." Take some time and sit in each room and think, "If a major quake hits right now what would injure me?" Then, fix the hazard.
An unprepared kitchen is probably the most hazardous room in the house. Shattered glass, spilled chemicals, gas-fed fires and falling objects are all potential disasters in an unprepared kitchen. Install latches on all kitchen cabinet doors.
When examining hazards in bedrooms, pay careful attention to objects that could fall and injure people in bed or block escape routes. Beds should not be placed under a window. Pictures, mirrors or other heavy objects mounted on the wall above the bed should be removed.
Attach tall furniture to wall studs to prevent it from falling over and blocking escape routes. Remove heavy objects from the upper shelves of bookcases, closets or the tops of dressers. Place all heavy objects on the floor or low shelves.
Each occupied bedroom of your house should have a flashlight and a pair of shoes next to the bed; the flashlight to see at night and the shoes to protect feet from broken glass.
Broken glass is the greatest potential hazard in the bathroom. Mirrors, shower doors, and toiletries can all fall and break.
Water heaters should be securely double strapped to the studs in the wall behind it; one strap about a third of the way from the top and the second strap about a third of the way from the bottom. Plumber's tape and lag bolts should be used and are readily available at any hardware store.
Remove all heavy objects from upper garage storage shelves especially around the car. All heavy objects should be at floor level. Hazardous materials should be segregated and stored in well marked, unbreakable containers.