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Earthquake preparedness tips offered

Updated May 22, 2014

When you feel the ground start shaking under your feet, quickly move away from windows, shelves and cabinets with heavy objects, and large chandeliers and ceiling lights. Without hesitation get under a sturdy desk or table, or at least get down near an interior wall until the shaking stops. But as important as it is to react quickly, how well you and your family survive will largely depend upon how well you prepared for the inevitable "big one."

Although taking the initiative to engage in personal earthquake planning can be a challenge, there are a few simple safety tips worth considering.

Have a plan and discuss it. Every family member should know where the safe spots are in each room, such as under sturdy desks and tables, and next to interior walls where you will be safe from falling objects or broken windows.

If away from home and telephones stop working, identify a prearranged location where family members can meet. If possible, also have an out-of-state contact who family members can call and leave a message (often local calls can't get through, but long distance calls will).

Secure heavy televisions to counters and top-heavy furniture to walls (find out how at Lowe's, Home Depot or on the Internet). Use museum putty to secure knickknacks, use closed hooks on hanging plants and place only soft or light items on shelves near beds.

Show everyone where the shut-offs for water, gas and electricity are located and teach them how they operate. Secure water heaters with at least two metal straps and use flexible gas lines where attached to appliances.

Always have working flashlights handy and an ABC-type fire extinguisher available. Make sure family members know where they are located and how to operate them.

Supplies such as water and food must last for at least three days (seven recommended). First aid items should be readily available and should take into account any special needs your family members may have. Other things to think about are the needs of senior family members, children, any disabilities, medications and pets.

School and daycare center policies should be checked so you will know the response to an emergency, including notification procedures and how and where children will be released to parents.

There are many more suggestions and strategies to help make you and your family safer in the event of an emergency. For more information on earthquake preparedness, check these websites:;;;; and Emergency supplies and equipment can be found on various websites, including

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