Though earthquakes are more common in some states than others, they can happen anywhere in the U.S.  If you live in Alaska, California, Washington, Oregon, Hawaii, eastern Missouri, eastern Arkansas, western Tennessee, western Kentucky, parts of eastern South Carolina and Puerto Rico, you are more likely to experience strong earthquakes. You can view a map that shows where strong earthquakes are more likely to occur in the U.S. 


Follow these tips to prepare and protect your family in the event of an earthquake.


Identify Potential Hazards In Your Home

  • Fasten shelves to walls
  • Large or heavy objects could injure you if they fall. Place them on lower shelves
  • Store breakable items such as dishes and anything made of glass in low, closed cabinets with latches
  • Hang heavy items such as pictures and mirrors away from beds, couches, and anywhere people sleep or sit.
  • Secure overhead light fixtures
  • Secure hot water heaters by strapping them to the wall and bolting to the floor
  • Store weed killers, pesticides, and flammable products on bottom shelves in closed cabinets with latches


Prepare an “Emergency Kit” 

After an earthquake, you might not have access to water, food, electricity, or other necessities for a week or even longer. This is why it is important to prepare and keep accessible an emergency kit. Visit this Settle In Help Center link to view items that would be included in an emergency kit:


Develop an Emergency Communication Plan

  • Make a plan in case family members are separated from one another in an earthquake (a real possibility during the day when adults are at work and children are at school).
  • After an emergency, local phone networks can be overwhelmed by many people calling or texting at the same time. Dialing long distance could be easier. If you have a friend or relative in another state, ask them to serve as the “family contact” who can relay messages in case of an emergency. Make sure everyone in the family knows the name and number of the family contact.


What To Do During an Earthquake

  • If you are indoors, find cover under a table or sturdy piece of furniture and hold on until the shaking stops. If there isn’t a table nearby, move to a corner of the building away from glass and stay on the floor with your arms covering your head. Stay inside until the shaking has stopped and you are sure exiting is safe. Once outside, move away from buildings to an open space. Teach all members of your household these emergency tips.
  • Keep shoes within easy reach of where you sleep. This will protect your feet from any glass shattered by the shaking.


What To Do After an Earthquake

After an earthquake, it is most important to get to a safe location. If you can, take your emergency kit with you. Check for injuries and hazards, then help others. Once you are safe, follow the emergency earthquake plan that you have prepared to communicate and reconnect with family members.


Use Your Phone As an Earthquake Early Warning Tool

If you live in the states of California, Oregon or Washington, you can now download the MyShake app which may give you time to take cover before the shaking of an earthquake begins in your location. The system uses sensors to detect earthquakes that have already started and issues an alert on your phone, providing a few seconds warning before shaking begins.


And currently, in California, earthquake early warning technology is automatically included in millions of Android phones without the need to download an app.  This system uses your phone’s general location, so it is important to enable location services. You can view a video about how Android phones used in California can notify you if an earthquake has been detected.


If you receive a shake alert on your phone, you will only have a few seconds to react before the shaking, so immediately take cover as described above and alert everyone around you to do the same.