Preparing for an Earthquake: What You Can Do to Stay Safe

New report says U.S. isn't ready for quakes, here are ways to help your family.

ByABC News
March 30, 2011, 6:04 PM

March 30, 2011— -- With images of Japan's disastrous earthquake and tsunami filling the news, a troubling new report shows that the United States is unprepared for a major quake here at home.

Thirty-nine of 50 states include areas with a moderate to high risk of a quake. The map on this page from the U.S. Geological Survey shows areas where earthquakes could occur, the darker colors corresponding to more intense, dangerous ground shaking.

For more maps from the USGS and the latest information on quakes, click here.

Experts say that there are steps everyone should take to be prepared and stay safe during and after a quake. Here are ten tips to keep in mind:

1. Have an Emergency KitYou may be on your own after a quake, as emergency services like police and firefighters may be unable to help. The USGS recommends a fire extinguisher, backup medications, a first-aid kit, crescent and pipe wrenches to turn off gas and water lines, flashlights and a portable radio, among other supplies. Be sure to have enough water for each family member for two weeks, at least 1 gallon per person per day.

2. Prepare Your HomeIf you live in an earthquake-prone area, examine your house and secure hazards that could fall during a quake. You can tether bookshelves to walls, secure shelving and latch cabinet doors to reduce the danger that objects could fall on you and your family.

3. Know Your SurroundingsKnow where gas, electric and water lines can be shut off, and how to do it.Plan a meeting place for your familyKnow where nearby police and fire stations are if you need help.

4. Subscribe to Alert ServicesMany communities now send text messages or emails to subscribers about local emergencies. Check with your local government to sign up for alerts relevant to you.

5. Plan for Your PetConsider having extra food and water on hand for your pet, just as you would for other family members.