Household preparedness is the foundation of Neighborhood Disaster Response. Each household is responsible to provide shelter and supplies for its member for one to three weeks. Some preparation and planning is required to create this capability. Here are resources to give you the information you need.
- Overview of an Earthquake Disaster and Recovery, for the Home
A concise explanation of the “phases” of an earthquake disaster, and what we can do to prepare and respond.
- Emergency Information Wallet Card
A fundamental tool for reuniting your family in the chaos of an disaster.
- Water After an Earthquake
Where to find water within your home, and how to purify it, if necessary.
General Preparedness Guides
There are many general guides to earthquake preparedness, and they all say basically the same thing. We have chosen references that give you the most useful information in the most accessible form (as best we can judge). Read several, and you’ll see the common threads. You can get a sense of how they may apply to you. Then, you can decide what action is appropriate in your situation.
- City of San Francisco: SF72.org – web-based guide
- Seattle Times: “Get Ready to Rumble:” A Guide to Earthquake Preparedness – PDF, 2013
- FEMA: How to Prepare for an Earthquake – PDF booklet
- FEMA: Earthquake Home Hazard Hunt (Detailed instructions for securing your home) – PDF, poster
- Earthquake Country Alliance: Recommended Earthquake Safety Actions (“Drop, Cover, and Hold On” and variations) – PDF
Disaster Supply Kits
We have chosen several checklists with different levels of detail. Pick the one that is most useful to you. In all cases, try to collect supplies for 2 weeks in your home, and for 3 days in your car, and at work or school.
- SF72.org: Emergency Supplies Checklist – basic, illustrated
- FEMA: Emergency Supply List – simple
- American Red Cross: Family Disaster Supplies Kit – complete
- National Disaster Education Coalition: Disaster Supplies Kit – exhaustive
Family Emergency Plans
The objective of a family plan is to allow the family to find each other in the chaos following an earthquake. If phones are down, each member of the family needs to know where to go to find the others. If phones are available, each family member must have a list of relevant contact numbers. We have chosen two formats – one simple and one more complete.
Particulars: Water, Toilets, Pets, Mental Health
- Phinney Hub: Water After an Earthquake – PDF
- FEMA & American Red Cross: Food and Water in an Emergency – PDF booklet
- Portland Bureau of Emergency Management: The Twin-Bucket Toilet – PDF brocure
- American Red Cross: Pets and Disaster Safety Checklist – PDF
- Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress: Psychological First Aid – PDF
Scenarios & Effects
- The New Yorker: The Really Big One – article, 2015
- The New Yorker: How to Stay Safe When the Big One Comes – article, 2015
- Cascadia Region Earthquake Workgroup (CREW): Cascadia Subduction Zone Earthquake Scenario – PDF, 2013
- Earthquake Engineering Research Institute & Washington Military Department: Seattle Fault Earthquake Scenario – PDF, 2005
For advanced reading about earthquake effects, and about planning on a city and regional level, see our Advanced Page.