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How to Prepare for an Earthquake

Are you prepared for an emergency like an earthquake? Here’s a list of supplies to gather in case of any emergency and how to seek shelter.

How to prepare for an earthquake, preparation kit  

Being prepared for an emergency doesn’t have to be daunting or intimidating. In some cases, it’s just a matter of knowing how to seek shelter. Here’s what to do to be prepared and protect yourself in case of an earthquake or other natural disaster.


You might have to act quickly if an earthquake does occur, and if it does, you may be able to reduce injury if you:  

  • Drop where you are, stay low, and crawl to shelter
  • Cover your head, crawl to table nearby, and stay on your knees to protect your organs
  • Hold on until the shaking stops  

If you’re outside, find a clear spot away from buildings, trees, streetlights, and power lines. Stay there until the shaking stops. If you’re driving, pull over to a clear location, and stay in place with your seatbelt fastened until the shaking stops. It’s not typically the ground shaking that causes injury, it’s more likely falling objects, collapsing structures, and falling glass—the reason why it’s important to quickly find shelter and stay put until the shaking stops.  

Related: How to Be Prepared for a Natural Disaster  

To prepare in advance of an earthquake, the Red Cross recommends: 

  • Assembling an emergency preparedness kit
  • Creating a household evacuation plan
  • Sharing the plan with your family  

To prepare for any natural disaster, have a kit ready to go that will cover your basic needs for up to three days. Most of the items are inexpensive, it’s just a matter of gathering them together in the event of an emergency. Here’s what ready.gov recommends including in a basic emergency kit: 

  • Water (one gallon per person per day for at least three days)
  • Three-day supply of food
  • Flashlight
  • Battery-power radio
  • First aid kitBatteries
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties
  • Wrench or pliers
  • Can opener
  • Local map
  • Cell phone with backup battery and charger  

If you need help making a kit, this 24-week calendar lists the items needed for a three-day disaster kit. It recommends that you build your kit over a 24-week period and track your progress along the way. Once you’ve built a kit, store it a designated place and have it available in case you have to leave your home in a hurry. Consider also storing another kit in your car(s) in case you are stranded. A small amount of planning now could protect if a disaster does strike.

And while you’re here, check out our other articles on healthy living. For information on our medical and dental plans, visit selecthealth.org/plans.  


SelectHealth may link to other websites for your convenience. SelectHealth does not expressly or implicitly recommend or endorse the views, opinions, specific services, or products referenced at other websites linked to the SelectHealth site, unless explicitly stated.

The content presented here is for your information only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, and it should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns.

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Post Author

Mary Ross

Mary is currently a Marketing Account Specialist and has been with SelectHealth for six years. She spends a lot of her time doing what she loves the most—teaching people how to cook healthy meals.

You can frequently see Mary on local television stations demonstrating how to revamp popular recipes by using healthy substitutions and cooking techniques.