Earthquake Preparedness

The issue of Earthquake preparedness has come to the forefront of Pacific Northwestern consciousness after an article appeared in the New Yorker with some pretty dire descriptions of what we might experience. You can read the article by clicking HERE.

So what to do about it? Below are some resources for retrofitting your home, how to respond if you find yourself in the middle of an earthquake, and what to have on hand in the way of emergency supplies. The midwest has their tornadoes; the southeast has their hurricanes—there’s no reason to panic and move out of the area (note that none of the earthquake experts are), but we could probably all be doing a better job of thinking about the possibility of a major earthquake happening. A little planning up front will go a long way toward keeping ourselves and our families safe.

Is Your Home Ready for an Earthquake?

  • How safe is safe enough?
  • Some fundamentals—inertia, loads, and ductility
  • How to protect your foundation
  • How to protect living spaces above garages
  • Considerations with utility lines
  • Strapping the water heater
  • Strapping certain large pieces of furniture
  • Dealing with large picture windows
  • Protecting yourself from crumbling fireplaces and exploding cabinets
  • Propane tanks
  • Special considerations with Mobile and Manufactured homes
  • Given everything you could do, which are the most important?

Northwest Natural Gas: What to do after an earthquake hits, and what to do BEFORE one hits so you’ll be ready. Controlling gas leaks is particularly important after an earthquake because such releases can result in fires.

Protect Yourself During an Earthquake: How to react when an earthquake starts—what to do and what NOT to do. Common myths like that standing in a door frame is a good idea or the “triangle of life” theory.

Residential Seismic Strengthening: Detailed information from the City of Portland’s Development bureau about protecting building structures from specific methods, to choosing a contractor, to getting permits.

Putting Together a Post-Earthquake Supplies Kit: Also, coming up with a neighborhood plan, learning your children’s school’s plan, working with civil authorities, psychological fallout from a natural disaster.

FEMA PrepareAthon Pamphlet: What to do before, during, and after an earthquake. Pretty comprehensive and visually pleasing. Great for printing out and distributing to others.