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After Earthquake Checklist: Essentials to take care of immediately

As you stabilize your family after today’s 5.7 magnitude earthquake, Studio 5 home management experts advise you take a look around your home. A quick inspection to ensure the integrity of your structure and the contents of your home could save headaches down the road.

Family & Consumer Sciences Educator, Teresa Hunsaker, shares the essential checklist every household should complete.

Home Check: What to Do Next

  • Check water, gas, and electric lines for damage.
    • Do a thorough walkthrough of your home. Upstairs, downstairs, crawl spaces, outside, garage. Water leaks may not be apparent. If there is no damage to the gas line, do not turn it off.
  • Look for electrical system damage.
  • Clean up spilled medicines, bleaches, gasoline, or other flammable liquids immediately. Avoid the hazard of a chemical emergency.
  • Check for sewage and water line damage.
  • Check chimneys for damage
    • Get out your binoculars and check for cracks, loose bricks, and the capstone on top being loose. Unnoticed damage could lead to fire or injury from falling debris during an aftershock. Cracks in chimneys can be the cause of a fire years later.
  • Use battery-powered lanterns or flashlights to inspect your home. (Kerosene lanterns, torches, candles, and matches may tip over or ignite flammables inside).
  • Take pictures of the damage, both to the house and its contents, for possible insurance claims.
  • Let kids help with the process to help them feel more secure
  • Be cautious opening closets and doors as things may have shifted.
  • Stay out of damaged buildings.

In an extended earthquake emergency:

  • Turn on the radio and don’t use your phone unless it’s an emergency.
  • Move cars out of garage and load emergency kits
  • Register with the American Red Cross that you are safe and well

Teresa Hunsaker is a regular guest on Studio 5 at KSL-TV, where she shares home management and home preparedness strategies and skills. She serves as an educator with Utah State University Extension Services. Contact Teresa at