Earthquake Preparation Checklist

Formulation of an emergency plan is one of the most important undertakings that can be accomplished before a disaster ever happens. We have laid out different tiers of strategies for you and your family to consider and implement before a catastrophe strikes.

Laying down the foundation

One of the first steps is conceptualizing what you will need first.

Meeting Point

  • Where will you meet after a disaster?
  • At home, have a designated spot outside of the home where everyone meets.
  • If you and your partner are at work, where will and how will you meet-up?
  • If you have children, who will pick them up from school?
  • Do you have pets? What is the ideal way to bring them along?
  • If everyone is scattered apart, what is the long-term game plan of a final assembly place. Will it be the local school, police or fire department, your home?

After you have formulated meeting places, practice. The Red Cross suggest that you practice earthquake and fire drills twice a year using multiple escape routes. By coordinating the drills when you change your clocks, it becomes easier to remember and to be consistent with this life-saving technique.

Outside Resources

An out-of-state contact should be chosen and everyone in the home should have the number. After a disaster, local phone lines may be jammed or down, making a long-distance call may be easier. If all of your family members are scattered apart from each other, having that outside contact may be the vital life-line that your family needs to use to let everyone know that you each are safe.

Also, reaching out to neighbors for additional resources, may not only help you, but them as well. They may have important skills or items at their disposal which may come in extremely handy in a disaster. Also, would they be willing to look after a child until you could make it home, if you have pets, would they be able to assist them?

The State and Portland area Counties and Cities are each creating their own earthquake emergency outreach plan, please visit their websites for additional resources:

Preparing an Emergency Kit and Important Information Storage

After surviving a quake, you will still need to get through the next couple days, up to weeks and even months. Creating an essential survival kit with food, water and household items will allow you and your family the ability to carry through until vital services are up and running.

We’ve laid this out in different levels of what would be the most vital to survive through items that would make life easier when basic luxuries are not available.

Emergency Preparedness List                                First Aid Kit Supply List

Essential Family Records

Crucial paperwork containing contact information for your home, banking, medical and benefit institutions can be equally important when trying to rebuild after a disaster.  Make copies of all listed and store them in at least two safe places, even consider having an out-of-state relative keep copies for you.  Have a “go-box” that contains this crucial documentation and should be kept with or near the Main Home EssentialsEssential Family Documentation

Seismic Retrofit Common Questions

 Why should I retrofit my home? 

  • To reduce the damage to your home, lessen the potential for injury and the loss of sentimental and monetary valuables.
  • Without retrofitting your home, you will not be able to obtain earthquake insurance.  In the case of a major earthquake and your home is destroyed, without insurance, you are left with a mortgage payment and no house.
  • Most crucial is the ability to occupy your home for weeks, even if it is destroyed. To think of your home as a shelter after a disaster is vital, you could still remain in the house to stay dry and limit your exposure to the weather.

What size earthquake will this protect me against?

Retrofitting your home does not equal fortification of your structure. The main goal of retrofitting your home is to reduce your risk against major injuries, protection of material property and to give you and your family the resiliency to survive, by using your home as a shelter against the elements.

What does it mean to retrofit?

In the most basic of terms, it is the modification of an existing structure to make them more resistant to seismic activity. Retrofitting can help prevent the home from slipping off the foundation and/or collapsing.  Please see our videos below showing the difference between and unattached and an attached home and how retrofitting can protect your investment.

Unattached house video  Attached house video

What about my water heater and other utilities?

Hot water heaters should be strapped to a wall or post to protect people from a bursting water heater and reduce fire potential. The installation of natural gas shut-off valves can help prevent houses from catching fire from natural gas lines.

I have an older home, why should I be worried about my home in an earthquake?

The majority of older homes are built and sit on top of a foundation and are not attached to it. Unless your home is built on a concrete slab, it is highly likely that it is constructed on a raised foundation with a crawlspace or basement. This type of construction does not give your home the strength to hold up to a strong earthquake that produces powerful lateral and upward movements, it will literally be knocked off its foundation.

The purpose of retrofitting is to attach the home to the foundation and give it the stability that it needs to withstand a violent earthquake.

Please visit our Seismic Retrofit Attachments – Illustration and Photos page for a detailed view of completed seismic upgrades.