USU Extension: Earthquake Emergency Plan

Teresa Hunsaker, Family and Consumer Science Educator with USU Extension talks about a checklist of ideas for your home earthquake plan.


Safe Locations

1) Choose a safe place in every room … under a sturdy table or desk or against an inside wall where nothing can fall on you.

2) Choose an out-of-town family contact.

3) Consult a professional to find out additional ways you can protect your home, such as bolting the house to its foundation or other structural mitigation techniques.

4) Take a first aid class from the local Red Cross chapter. Keep training current.

5) Learn how to use a fire extinguisher from the local Fire Department

6) Inform babysitters and caregivers of your family’s emergency plan.

Eliminate Hazards

1) Bolt bookcases, china cabinets, and tall furniture to wall studs

2) Install strong latches on cupboards

3) Strap the water heater to wall studs.

When the Shaking Begins

There will be no warning, so stay where you are until the initial shock has passed. Most injuries happen as people enter or leave a building.

1) Indoors: take cover under a desk or table. Sit or stand against an inside wall, or strong doorway. Move away from windows, ceiling fixtures, bookcases, etc. In a high-rise building, expect the fire alarms and sprinklers to go off during a quake. If you are in bed, hold on and stay there (protect your head with a pillow).

2) Outdoors: Move away from buildings, tall objects, trees, or power lines. Drop to the ground.

3) Car: Slow down and drive to a clear place. Stay in the car until the shaking stops.

When the Shaking Stops

1) Provide emergency care. Don’t move injured people unless they are in immediate danger.

2) Put on long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, sturdy shoes and work gloves as protection from further danger.

3) Eliminate fire hazards. Only use flash lights (they won’t create sparks)

4) Fill bathtub with water.

5) Listen to the radio for instructions

6) Expect aftershocks, be prepared.

7) Inspect your home for damage. Get everyone out if your home is unsafe.

8) Only use telephone to report extreme emergency situations.


Stay home if possible. If insturcted to leave immediately, take your 72-hour kit and include:

1) Medical supplies, i.e. prescription medications and dentures.

2) Bottled water

3) Clothing and sleeping bag or bedroll and pillow for each household member

4) Car keys and keys to the place you may be going (friends or relative’s home)

Home Protection

If local officials have not advised an immediate evacuation, take steps now to protect your home and belongings:

1) Bring objects indoors. Lawn furniture, trash cans, children’s toys, garden equipment, clotheslines, hanging plants, and any other objects that may fly around and damage property

2) Look for potential hazards. Anything that could blow or break off and fly around in high winds should be brought inside (tree limbs, fruit, nuts,chimes, etc.)

3) Turn off electricity and water. Turn off electricity at the main fuse or breaker and turn off water at the main valve.

4) Leave natural gas on. Unless local officials advise otherwise, leave natural gas on because you will need it for heating and cooking later.

Houses do not EXPLODE due to air pressure difference. Damage occurs when wind gets inside a home thru a broken window, door or damaged roof.

5) High winds expected. Cover outside of all windows of your home. Use shutters rated to provide significant protection from windblown debries, or fit plywood coverings over all windows. Using tape on windows is not recommended.

6) Flooding expected. Use sand bags to keep water away from your home. It takes 2 people about 1 hour to fill and place 100 sandbags which makes a 1 foot by 20-foot wall.

7) Protect valuables. Move to higher levels in the home, away from windows. Wrap them in sheets, blankets or burlap. To protect furniture from water, place on thick stack of newspapers topped with cardbord or plywood.


To learn more about emergency preparedness, call the USU Extension/Weber County at (801) 399-8200 or online at