Emergency Preparedness
2:24 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

How To Survive An Earthquake

Seismogram from a M5.0 earthquake that struck near Jan Mayen Island on June 15, 1995.
Credit Flickr Photo/Dave Schumaker

An estimated 1,000 earthquakes occur in Washington state each year. Fortunately, most are of them are small, and only about 15 to 20 are felt by residents. If you're not sure what to do when an earthquake strikes, the Regional Public Information Network has some valuable guidelines:

  • Develop a family plan.
  • Create a portable earthquake kit.
  • Identify heavy items such as bookcases, water heaters and storage cabinets that may fall over during an earthquake, and secure them to the wall.
  • When inside a building, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends a drop, cover and hold on response:
    • Drop to the ground.
    • Take cover by getting under a sturdy table or other furniture.
    • Hold on until the shaking stops.
  • When outside, find a clear spot away from buildings, trees and power lines and drop to the ground.
  • If you are in a car, slow down and drive to a clear place away from buildings, trees and power lines. Stay in the car until the shaking stops.


Additional Resources
American Red Cross
FEMA Earthquake Preparedness
US Geological Survey
Pacific Northwest Seismograph Network
King County Office of Emergency Management Family Disaster Supplies Kit