Depending on where you live in the Cascadia region, an earthquake may cause ground shaking, landslides, soil liquefaction (when soil liquefies during shaking), tsunamis, fires, hazardous material spills and building damage. Taking steps now to secure your home and belongings will reduce the damage and help you recover more quickly.
For help in keeping yourself and loved ones safe during and after an earthquake, please see Protecting Yourself and Your Family for family plans and emergency kit information. For basic information about earthquakes and related hazards, please see Earthquakes 101.
Emergency management agencies in British Columbia, California, Oregon and Washington and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and some county and other local agencies provide earthquake resources for homeowners and residents. Actions that can reduce the impact of an earthquake include:
- Identify hazards at home.
- Move heavy items, such as pictures, mirrors or tall dressers, away from your bed.
- Secure furniture that may move during an earthquake.
- Properly store potentially hazardous materials (e.g., cleaners, fertilizers, chemicals and petroleum products) in sturdy cabinets fastened to wall or floor.
- Secure flammable appliances (e.g., water and gas heaters).
- Purchase earthquake insurance. (Video)
Agencies, guides and other resources
- FEMA: Identify and address hazards in your home and Earthquake Safety Checklist
- Emergency Management British Columbia: Earthquakes and Personal Preparedness
- California Emergency Management Agency: Planning and Preparedness
- Oregon Emergency Management: Earthquakes
- Washington Emergency Management Division: Prepare Your Home
- How-to videos for securing hazards at home (Washington EMD)
- What to Do Before, During and After an Earthquake (FEMA)
- Living on Shaky Ground: How to Survive Earthquakes and Tsunamis in Oregon (Oregon Department of Geology and Minerals)