How To Be Ready For The Next Earthquake

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Can you use some tips on how to be ready for the next earthquake? If you live in areas likely to have an earthquake sooner than later, please listen up. Mark and I went with some friends to a park with our lunch recently to enjoy the beautiful weather that day here in Northern Utah. Emergency Radio, Goal Zero Crush Light, Solar Flashlight, Flashlights

It’s still cold, but we were anxious to get a head start on spring. The sun was shining, the leaves on the trees were starting to bud, and we could see others enjoying their lunch at adjoining tables. National Risk Index (thank you to Leanne)

The last thing on our mind was dealing with an earthquake. The challenge is, that you just don’t know when one will surprise you, so you need to be prepared beforehand as best you can. I’m updating this post from July 2019 due to the recent New York City earthquake being a surprise to all of us, particularly New Yorkers. We wish there was an early warning system with flashing lights and sirens, but not the case with earthquakes. Earthquake preparedness is up to us, including any family earthquake drills we might want to practice.

How To Be Ready For The Next Earthquake

California Earthquake Years Ago

Several years ago, we received a text from our daughter in Southern California that her apartment was swaying from a 6.6 earthquake. It was later adjusted to a 6.4 earthquake, but still scary. They continued having aftershocks, and now there is a 90% chance another one will be much higher. Mother Nature will let us know sooner than we’d like, so hold on.

After the worst had passed, I called my daughter. As a prepper, I asked her a few things that any mother would ask. Do you have water? Do you have food storage? Is your car full of gas? You may remember I gave our daughters a practical gift for Christmas.

I had four cases of BlueCan Water shipped to all of them. The least expensive place to purchase them is from a company called BROWNELLS. Please sign up for their email and watch for discounts and FREE SHIPPING.

Get Ready For The Next Earthquake

Before The Next Earthquake:

  • Store water: the American Red Cross suggests one gallon per person per day. I have told my readers for years to consider four gallons per person per day to cover hydration, cooking, sanitation, and limited laundry needs: Water Storage Ideas
  • Have food storage: my chart may help you to get started: Where Do I Start
  • Keep up on your laundry: with an earthquake, you may lose power for days, weeks, or more.
  • Organize your 72-hour kit and store it where you will grab it if evacuated.
  • Keep your gas tank at least 3/4 full; I used to say 1/2 full, but not anymore.
  • Stock paper products that are suitable for serving meals so you’ll use less water for cleanup.
  • As needed for your family, personal hygiene items, toilet paper, menstrual supplies, diapers, toothpaste, toothbrushes, razors, hand soap, deodorant, and shampoo. Make sure your first aid kit is up to date.
  • Get at least 2 can openers.
  • If you have a way to cook your food, that’s awesome: Butane Stove. We all need backup cooking devices.
  • Consider placing the more breakable items on your storage shelves on the lower shelves so they aren’t as prone to be shaken off and broken.
  • If you live in an earthquake-prone location, check with your insurance agent to see if it makes sense to get an earthquake insurance policy since a standard homeowner’s insurance policy won’t provide much coverage.
  • Have your important documents like passports, birth certificates, insurance policies, etc. in a place where they are safe but accessible.
Read More of My Articles  Don't Be In The Dark When The Lights Go Out

Other Preparations

  • Secure any items on walls or furniture that may fall and injure you. Hopefully, you won’t sustain much earthquake damage and incur structural issues.
  • Have several flashlights ready with extra batteries. I like solar batteries and keep them charging on my window sills all the time.
  • I hope you have an emergency toilet if the sewer lines are severed.
  • Store bleach, soap, and lots of hand sanitizer.
  • Have an emergency kit for your pets, a bag with water and food dishes, vaccination information, a crate, food, doggy poop bags, a leash, a harness, and a blanket.
  • Please keep your phone charged and have a way to charge it with solar if we lose power.
  • Get a good radio with NOAA information. I like my hand crank radio since I expect a power outage.
  • Please register with your county REVERSE 911 notification so you will hear about disasters or emergencies in your location. You will receive a text ASAP when issued.
  • Secure your water heater with a strong strap to the closest wall studs to make sure it doesn’t come dislodged and break the gas line causing gas leaks.
  • Acquaint yourself with the location of utility turn-offs so you can turn things off if needed. That should help protect your appliances. Have quality power surge protectors installed to help protect those appliances and other electronics.

During The Next Earthquake

  • If in your car, pull over and park your car away from trees, buildings, overpasses, and electrical wires.
  • When at home, stay there and cover your head and neck with a pillow if you’re in bed.
  • Please stay away from your door frames. We are told that the safe spots in your home are under a sturdy desk or table, in a room with no windows, in a closet, or your bed. You may need to get on your knees and crawl to the closest safe spot and wait until the shaking stops.
  • Drop, cover your cover head and neck (I remember doing it in school).
  • If you are outside, stay in place, and hopefully, you can return to your home if it’s structurally safe.
  • Please check on your neighbors, and there may be some who need help.
  • Watch for fires, gas line breaks, broken glass, and fallen electrical wires.
  • Put your family emergency communication plan to use.
  • Look for any downed utility wires accessing your property and make sure people stay clear by placing warning tape or cones in place.
Read More of My Articles  8 Ways to Convince Your Loved Ones to Prep

After The Next Earthquake

  • If near the ocean, go inland if possible to avoid a possible tsunami. Be sure to evacuate if directed to do so.
  • Do not enter damaged buildings, you may be subject to injury from falling debris.
  • Have and use a list of phone numbers of people you may want to contact, including out-of-state contacts.
  • If trapped, scream or bang objects together to get someone’s attention.
  • Once you are safe, use work gloves, long-sleeved shirts, heavy-duty pants, and sturdy shoes with good socks to check on your home or neighborhood.
  • If your emergency radio works, listen to the information to learn the worst scenario areas near you.
  • Check on neighbors who may need help.
  • Watch for looting, and be prepared to protect your valuables.

Food Storage Ideas

More Water Storage Ideas

Final Word

We sometimes think something happens to others, but maybe not to us. I encourage you to think again; we must be prepared for whatever comes our way. We must be prepared to care for ourselves if that next earthquake hits our neighborhood. It may be a hurricane, a fire, or a flood, but it doesn’t matter, we are responsible to take care of our family. Please do not think the government or your local city or county leaders will deliver food and water to you after a disaster. That will not happen. May God bless this world, Linda

Copyright Images: Earthquake Depositphotos_2938621_S By Vicnt2815, Earthquake After Damage Depositphotos_49042145_S By Mppriv

Similar Posts


  1. Hi, Linda, please remind people to check for gas leaks before lighting anything. Also, three small things in your pocket can make a big difference: a whistle can be heard farther and blown for far longer than a voice ( three short blows, then pause is the signal for distress); a tiny led flashlight can help a lot if it is dark, use for short times to save batteries; a car key can get you to your supplies or away from a situation if you are not near your purse. Other things, I read–and it seems to help when I have done it– during a quake, tell it to stop over and over until it stops, sounds silly, but psychlogically it gives you a feeling of power and afterwards remember to take slow deep breaths so you do not hyperventilate. Stay safe and be prepared!

    1. Hi Jan, great tips, I’m going to add them to the post. It’s funny, I believe in the feeling of power as well!! I’m going to add a whistle to my key ring today! Why didn’t I do this before?? Better late than ever! Love your comment! Linda

  2. How funny to see this the day after we had the largest earthquake in 20 years here in Southern California. We were 120 miles away from the epicenter but I felt it. I sat watching my hanging pot rack play me a tune of banging pots and pans. No damage in our home but lots elsewhere. I’m so conditioned for them having lived her 62 years. We were in Dallas last month, the day after a big storm tore thru with 80 mph winds. People panicked and were obviously unprepared. Shelves all week were empty of flashlights, batteries etc. Electric was out up to 6 days for a lot of people. Refrigerator and freezer sections were empty for the week. Some had caution tape across them because spoiled food inside was yet to be cleaned out. I’m so grateful we are mostly prepared. The time to prepare is NOW, not the day after! Thanks for your helpful and great posts.

    1. HI Debra, my single mom daughter lives in Huntington Beach and she’s keeping me posted on the aftershocks. I sure hope people step up to the plate and have the supplies they need BEFORE they need them! Like you said, NOW! Great comment, thank you, Linda

    2. I felt the earthquake yesterday. I have food in my stock, but I realize I need some more food that u don’t have to prepare. I have water, and I think its oh k right now, but I probably need more cuz I have two dogs.

      1. HI Sandra, I think every time we have an earthquake, hurricane, or another natural disaster we all evaluate what we have right NOW. I was thinking I wish I had sent more water to my daughter. I just hope everyone look at what they have stored. We must be prepared before the disaster. It sounds like you’re okay from the earthquake, glad to hear. Stay safe. Linda

  3. Shoes go right by the bed. Don’t wanna step on broken glass or legos that fell off the shelf lol

    1. Buying food and emergency supply’s BEFORE a disaster is wise, and is called preparing.
      Buying it all in a panic AFTER a disaster is my definition of hoarding.
      Police and fire stations have their personnel buy all the available batteries so they can see and communicate.
      A Safeway manager told me that after the Loma Prieta quake the affected stores put out a call for water, batteries and Oreos.

  4. Linda, people should take photos of the outside and inside of their home and file them. After an earthquake if they have structural damage they have proof. If you have a breakfront or china cabinet, or any heavy piece of furniture that could cause serious injury if it might tip over, should be stabilized. The rods attach to top of the furniture and the ceiling, to keep it from falling, they are very inexpensive. We were in Japan for the 2011 earthquake and we had stabilized our furniture before the quake. We did not have much breakage, and nothing tipped over, and we were about 70 km from the epicenter.

    1. Hi Linda, great comment! I’m glad you thought to stabilize your furniture in Japan. Taking pictures is a great tip! I just had a friend take pictures of everything in her house for insurance purposes. Great idea! Linda

      1. Our daughter lives in Ridgecrest and once I knew they were safe; I asked her if she was prepared. I’m sure she was rolling her eyes as she replied she was.

        1. Hi Linda, oh my gosh!! That city had all the grocery stores closed. WOW! My daughter lives in Huntington Beach which is farther away. I had to laugh at the rolling her eyes. We still ask because we are moms!!! Love it! Linda

    2. Yes good stuff! We do that too and a walk thru video for insurance. We store one copy in the tornado storm shelter and another at a place away from here.

  5. Thank you for this post on earthquakes. When I was younger I thought we here in Texas were safe from earthquakes. Little did I know that I-35 which is about 8 miles away from where I live, is built on a fault line !! I hopefully have what I need if we do have a big earthquake here or near here. We have had several very small quakes in the area. No damage to speak of. I pray for those out in California. I can’t imagine the fear they must feel. I prepare for my family and myself because you don’t know what can happen.You need backups for your backups. One is none and 2 is one. The fires in Alaska are very near to where my brother lives. My sister has property across the road from his (which used to be my mom’s home). We don’t know if anything was lost, as no one can get into that area. (My sister tried yesterday and was turned away(my brother went missing back on Feb18, 2019 and the person we had house sitting was away working when the fire started).I urge people to get prepared for anything, not just one thing. You are a blessing to all of us. God Bless you and your family.

    1. OH Judy, your brother is still missing? Oh my gosh, this has to be so stressful. I’m so sorry my friend!!! Those Alaska fires have got to be bad, we see nothing on the TV about them. At least where I live in Southern Utah. Please keep me posted, this is terrible. I’m praying for you and your family. God bless you, Linda

    2. Judy ~
      So sorry to hear about your brother.
      As for the fire, my brother is on a fire in Alaska – not sure the location but I could get a message to my sister-in-law and she could perhaps tell me. What area is your AK fire in?

      My sister and brother-in-law were evacuated last year due to a large forest fire. They were fortunate in that the fire came within 100 yards of their back yard. BUT, they have a huge drive/parking area in front of their home and right next to the road. There were 4 or 5 water tankers hanging out there. So their home was spared. Not so in 1994 when another fire came through that same area when my father lived at the same location. His home was NOT spared. It is so stressful for all and a different kind of stress when we are not there supporting/helping our family.

      1. my brother’s property and home are in the Sunshine area of Talkeena. Last we heard (yesterday) the fire was 2- 3 miles away from the property. This is the Montana Creek fire.

    3. I contacted my sister in law and she has not been in contact with my brother since he went to AK for the fires. She does not know what fire he is on. If I get any more information, I will let you know.

  6. I find hard to see people suffering when despite the potential tragedy and problems that they may encounter, if they would get well prepared, they could mitigate or even avoid a lot of their troubles after the crisis has struck.

    We here all know that stores run out of supplies quickly, but think about all the available supplies, the food and water we can purchase from all the stores near us on any given day. Sometimes my father has asked me to buy water at BJ’s and they have enough water to fill several pickup trucks just sitting there. If people buy more, the store will reorder sooner. It’s not hoarding nor is it “unfair” to others of you buy early, there will be plenty if not more for everyone.

    It’s good of you to remind us, so we in turn can be fully prepared and hopefully warn and encourage others to do so.

  7. The NJ quake was a reminder for those of in the Northeast that we aren’t immune from quakes.

    While I have a lot of supplies, my standby generator is fueled by the natural gas lines coming into the house which is subject to breakage during a strong enough quake. Although if the infrastructure is damaged enough that it takes weeks to repair gas lines the generator is dual fuel and can run off propane. Assuming I can find a vendor willing to sell me a tank during the outage…not likely, so… Most of my backup preps for cooking and lighting are based on not having electricity despite the generator.

    Layered preps allow me the option to slow the reduction in my family’s comfort level by having multiple ways of doing the same things, even if the secondary (and tertiary) preps don’t do the job quite as easily.

    And for folks with natural gas coming into their homes, make sure you have a gas turnoff tool. If you smell leaking gas you can easily shut off the line to your house and hopefully prevent a tragedy. Checking the house and surrounding yard is on my checklist for post quake verification.

    Thanks for these articles Linda!

    1. Hi DmWalsh, thank you for your kind words. You are so right people need to know how to turn off the gas line to their homes IF they smell gas. I have heard after some disasters some vendors have raised the propane cost (if it’s available at all) and the propane tanks sell out fast. You are blessed to have a generator, when we had a flood once the alert came through our phones to not use our generators (I didn’t have one) because they were afraid the gas lines would rupture just like you said. I have a unit that uses solar but it would not keep my freezer going. But it will work for many other things. I hate the dark so if it works for lighting and cooking, so I’m good. Linda

  8. Thanks for this great post! We are trying to prepare here in Utah for an earthquake. We have installed magnetic baby locks on all our kitchen cupboards. We keep several of the “magnet openers” close by and opening the cupboards is a breeze and has become second nature to us.
    We bought special shelf-liner to help keep the glassware from shifting too much inside the cupboards. We wear our shoes in the house and also keep a grocery bag by each side of our bed. The bag has sturdy shoes, socks, a whistle, a bottle of water and a flashlight in each bag. That way, should an earthquake happen at night, we can put our shoes on and not worry about broken glass or stubbed toes and we won’t be in the dark. If we should be trapped, we have some water and a whistle to alert others to our whereabouts. The bags are not visible to casual sight but they are there. Also, we do not hang anything above our bed. We have used earthquake straps to secure our appliances and furniture to the walls. We still need to secure the smaller furniture. We have also braced our storage shelves to each-other in our storage room, as well as anchoring the end shelves to the wall studs. We have been able to secure much of the contents of the shelves so that we don’t lose what we have gathered. We still have more we feel we need to do. Some people may think we live in fear. But we absolutely live in peace, knowing we have done what we can to prepare. Time not spent cleaning up our own mess will be time spent helping others.

    1. Hi Melissa, oh, how I love your ideas. The cabinet magnet deals, genius! I’m so impressed how prepared you are, I live in Utah and we must all be prepared like you are. GOOD JOB! What an inspiration to all of us! I have those bags for my bed, I need to reshare that page. You can make them out of pillowcases. I can’t say enough of how proud I am that you are so prepared. My heart is filled! Keep it up! You are not living in fear, it’s a reality we will all face. It’s called be prepared for the unexpected. An earthquake is right around the corner, the news keeps telling us here in Utah. We live on the Wasatch Fault…..thanks again, Linda

  9. There are lots of people having feelings that an earthquake is coming here in Northern Utah including my family. Get prepared the best you can as soon as possible.

    I lived through multiple quakes in Southern California including Northridge. I had to laugh about the note you “might” have to crawl to a safe place. When Northridge hit I got out of bed to tell my kids to cover their heads and the quake immediately threw me to the ground. There was no “standing or walking”. Thank goodness the kids remembered their training and did so. When the event hits – the preparation time is over.

    1. Hi Kay, you nailed it on “When the event hits – the preparation time is over”. You are so right. I live in one of the worst areas of Utah, you know how the earthquakes come in “waves” well we are located in the worst location if the Wasatch Fault hits Utah. I knew that when we moved back up north in Utah but the water shortages in Southern Utah worried me more. Both are bad. But it is what it is, I don’t think about it that much but I prep for it, that’s for sure. I bet that experience of the California earthquake throwing you to the ground is something you will never forget. This is why we prep. Linda

  10. Oh Linda! I also live right on top of the Wasatch Fault. I can SEE the fault scar out my back window as I live on the bench! I stopped by the National Earthquake Center in Golden CO while on vacation and talked to them. They said this fault will drop us – not go sideways – so after the initial shock we will be fine. Those out by the Salt Lake will get waves of movement that will get bigger and liquefaction so the damage and shaking will be much worse than those of us close to it. Not very comforting but nice to know and prepare for. We have done a LOT to prepare for this – it’s coming! There are so many people I know that God is warning.

    1. Hi Kay, oh my gosh, this is awesome to hear! I have family that lives in Grantsville, Utah, yikes! Thank you so much for sharing this information! I love it! Linda

  11. Good morning, Linda, as a follow-up to our conversation from the other day regarding the earthquake, we have had aftershocks including one that was a 4.0 several hours after the initial shock, the rest were minor. Only one school several miles from my home had damage to their gym, they found cracks in the walls, but the building is an older one. We have been told to expect aftershocks for possibly one week after and to report any damage to the 311 non-emergency number, but to call 911 if there is an emergency. Get ready people, stock up now, it will soon be hurricane season, although we don’t get direct hits, we get the aftermaths with rain and wind. Have a safe and blessed week.

    1. HI Mildred, oh thank for the update, I know there are usually aftershocks, thankfully the 4.0 one didn;t cause any major damage. So now, you have hurricanes to prepare for! Stay safe, my sweet friend. Linda. P.S. Thank you for the tips on 311 and 911. Great reminder.

  12. Linda –
    Great re-post in light of the recent earthquakes in the east. While I am very familiar with Pacific NW earthquake dangers (along with volcanic potentials), I no longer live there and have been a bit remiss in evaluating my new hazards!! So, this post is relevant in that I NEED to get up to speed.

    Wyoming has weather related hazards – winter, heavy snow, winds that are nearly unbelievable to me!!! But I just found out that Wyoming also has High Seismic Hazards!!! So, I need to learn a bit more about the hazards I am facing in my new home. That said, I feel pretty well prepared in general. Still need to get up to speed on my water storage considering I have limited storage space! I am up to 2 weeks of water. I have bricks now and I use that strictly for potable water (from my daughter and SIL’s reverse osmosis system) and I have 5 3 gallon containers with tap water for washing, flushing, etc. (tap water here tastes terrible – even through my Berkey!!).

    Thank you for reposting this and getting my mind on these things again!

    1. Hi Leanne, thank you for your kind words, my sweet friend. Sometimes we all need to get up to speed, luckily most us are prepared but when a new earthquake hits or a different natural disaster hits, we jump into action. It’s a good reminder to check out lists or “stuff”. I love reverse osmosis water, I can’t wait to get mine installed n the new tiny home. Linda

  13. Oh and I wanted to also mention (you might have it in the post but I didn’t read it carefully!!) but we also need to have bags or boxes right next to our beds with: flashlights/batteries, shoes/socks, gloves, hard hat, pencil/paper and other things in the case of glass on the floors, no lights and that sort of thing. I think about the winds in my area that could potentially cause tree limbs flying through a window. If there is an earthquake, that is also a potential risk so broken glass can be a very real concern. Parents need to also train their children: what to do if this happens in the middle of the night, daytime, if they are at school, meet up places and contact plans.

    There really are so many things to think about and be up to speed on.

    1. Hi Leanne, I need to show my pillowcase bag that fits between the mattress and the box spring. It’s in mmy book but I need to redo the pictures, it holds a flashlight, shoes, keys, etc. Your quilt or bedspread covers it, but it’s ready when you need it. We do need to have discussion and train our kids and grandkids about different situations, great reminder. Linda

  14. I might add that every household should have video and photos of their home on file in somewhere safety. Like a safety deposit box in a heavily built bank as possible or with family out of the area, maybe even 2 copies in different areas. It’s protection from house fires, gas explosions, wild fire, hurricane & flooding, areal flooding (inland), coastal flooding,tornadoes, anywhere potential severe wind damage might occur (derecho’s or other severe wind storms) or any major damaging event. Those living on bluffs or in the path of avalanche or mud/rock slides are potential hazards.

    I’ve been hearing ads from Patriot’s Supply lately about large and medium bulk packages of dehydrated meals. If you store enough water to rehydrate them and a butane stove or grill to heat them. I believe they might be useful, for long term supplies for anyone subject to power emergencies. They are currently having sales. They carry many prepper supplies, that might benefit the non prepping home owener. With a 25 year shelf life, anyone can be prepared trouble.

    Everyone East of the Mississippi River, North into Canada and South to the Gulf Coast + the East coast, are in danger of a major earthquake quake on the Reelfoot Lake fault located just below the boot heel of Missouri, Extending over a long distance East and West, within a whole regional system of faults. The fault is 100+ years overdue and has the potential for an 8.9 to 9.0+! Geologists and LiDAR experts have mapped the extreme damage caused by the previous 2 ruptures, and have confidence in their predictions. The fault is surrounded with every type of sensor and recording devices as possible. They hope to see an earthquake swarm or swarms ahead of it, their idea is to potentially evacuate those closest to the very visible fault line if they get any indication beforehand. There is evidence of vertical motion, lateral motion, liquification, and an opening chasm during the rupture. The last rupture caused serious damage in Charleston, SC. This land was not settled at that time, but the geographic record is clear. It could set off faults everywhere around it. People in this huge area should get prepared. Perhaps you might research this and do a focus article based on the Midwest. Damage estimate devastation as far north as Chicago, South and East to the coasts, and possibly dropping every bridge over the Old Miss, and others throughout the area. A great many people living in this area have no idea the fault and it’s system exists, or it’s potential. No place is immune from earthquakes, as we’ve seen in NJ. We felt that one in MA, then up through Southern VT, NH, and ME. There was serious shaking and visible swaying of furniture and falling over, etc here. Never say it can’t happen where you are, because it can. Time to go out to watch the eclipse, now.

    1. Hi Mary Ann, thank you for your great comment, my sweet friend. You have a lot of really awesome ideas and tips. I’ve mainly dealt with flooding done in Southern Utah. Oh, and in Farmington, Utah in 1983. I have filled so many sand bags and scooped mud, I couldn’t do it today, but I have been in the midst of it. I can’t imagine how bad an 8.9 or 9.0+ earthquake would feel like, I know the damage would be significant. It sure seems like more and more natural disasters are happening more now than every before. But social media makes us aware now. Great comment, Linda

  15. I’m in New Jersey. We just had a 4.8 earthquake last week. I’m about 7 miles from the epicenter. Thankfully not any serious incidents. I have grown up here and have lived in many other places and have never before experienced something like this. It came complete with aftershock. Yippee.

    1. Hi Carol, oh my gosh thanks for checking n with us. The earthquake was 4.8 and you were only 7 miles from it! So you have lived there many years and this is your first one, wow! That’s good news. Hopefully the aftershocks will stay under control. Stay safe, Linda

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *