Are You Ready for an Earthquake?

Earthquakes are not common in Middle Tennessee, but they can happen. The earthquake that created Reelfoot Lake in the northwest corner of the State is one of the most powerful fault-lines in the country. An earthquake there will affect us too.

Prepare a Home Earthquake Plan

  • Choose a safe place in every room -- under a sturdy table or desk or against an inside wall where nothing can fall on you.
  • Practice DROP, COVER AND HOLD ON at least twice a year. Drop under a sturdy desk or table, hold on, and protect your eyes by pressing your face against your arm. If there's no table or desk nearby, sit on the floor against an interior wall away from windows, bookcases or tall furniture that could fall on you. Teach children to DROP, COVER AND HOLD ON!
  • Chose an out-of-town family contact.

Eliminate Hazards

  • Bolting bookcases, china cabinets and other tall furniture to wall studs
  • Installing strong latches on cupboards
  • Strapping the water heater to wall studs
  • In the United States and its territories, take a first-aid class from your local American Red Cross Chapter. Keep your training current.
  • Get training in how to use a fire extinguisher from your local fire department.
  • Inform babysitters and caregivers of your plan.

Prepare a Disaster Supplies Kit for Home and Car

  • First-aid kit and essential medications
  • Canned food and can opener
  • At least three gallons of water per person (one gallon of water per person for at least 3 days; often more is needed)
  • Protective clothing, rainwear, and bedding or sleeping bags
  • Battery-powered radio, flashlight and extra batteries
  • Special items for infants, elderly or disabled family members
  • Written instructions for how to turn off gas and water if authorities advise you to do so. (Remember, you'll need a professional to turn them back on)
  • Keep essentials, such as a flashlight and sturdy shoes, by your bedside.

Know What to Do When the Shaking Begins

  • DROP, COVER AND HOLD ON! Move only a few steps to a nearby safe place. Stay indoors until the shaking stops and you're sure it's safe to exit. Stay away from windows. In a highrise building, expect the fire alarms and sprinklers to go off during a quake.
  • If you are in bed, hold on and stay there, protecting your head with a pillow.
  • If your are outdoors, find a clear spot away from buildings, trees, and power lines. Drop to the ground.
  • If you are in a car, slow down and drive to a clear place (as described above). Stay in the car until the shaking stops.

Identify What to Do After the Shaking Stops

  • Check yourself for injuries. Protect yourself from further danger by putting on long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, sturdy shoes, and work gloves.
  • Check others for injuries. Give first aid for serious injuries.
  • Look for and extinguish small fires. Eliminate fire hazards. Turn off the gas if you smell gas or think it's leaking. (Remember, only a professional should turn it back on.) Listen to the radio for instructions.
  • Expect aftershocks. Each time you feel one. DROP, COVER AND HOLD ON! Inspect home for damage. Get everyone out if your home is unsafe.
  • Use the telephone only to report life-threatening emergencies.

Plan and Get Ready

Earthquakes can happen in most states . . . anytime . . . without warning. Reducing hazards and knowing what to do can make a big difference in how an earthquake impacts your household. Adults and children in the household should talk about what you will do when an earthquake happens. This checklist will get you started in planning. Have various members of the household complete each of the items on the checklist below. Then get together to finalize your Home Earthquake Plan.

____Pick one or more "safe places" in each room of your home. Practice DROP, COVER AND HOLD ON! in each place
Write the locations of safe places in each room of your home:

Bedroom: ____________________ Bedroom: ____________________
Living room: __________________ Kitchen: _____________________
Other rooms: ______________________________________________________

____Choose an out-of-town relative or friend to be a family contact person.

Family contact: ____________________ Phone number: ____________________

____Put together disaster supplies kits.

Location of home kit: ____________________ Date assembled: ____________________
Smaller kit put in car: ______________________________________________________

____Teach household members how to turn off utilities.
Location of gas and water valves and electrical switches and turnoff tools: ______________

____Install strong latches or bolts on cabinets.

____Secure water heater to wall studs with two steel straps.

____Bolt bookcases, china cabinets and tall furniture to wall studs.

____Secure items that might fall (TV, books, computers, etc.).