Earthquake Planning 

Our purpose is to help prepare our Commonwealth for an Earthquake Disaster and to provide you with information about past earthquakes, along with information about how you can prepare for an earthquake.  You will also find resources including information about earthquakes in and around Kentucky (Kentucky Historial Information from the USGS).

An earthquake may strike anywhere at any time.  It is important to prepare NOW to avoid injury or property loss when the big quake strikes.  The Kentucky Division of Emergency Management has developed some preparedness tips to assist you.

 Printable Planning Documents

01 What to do BEFORE an Earthquake267 KB2/8/2012 3:23 PM
02 What to do DURING an Earthquake277 KB2/8/2012 3:23 PM
03 What to do AFTER an Earthquake220 KB2/8/2012 3:23 PM
Drop, Cover, and Hold On355 KB1/15/2012 8:12 AM
PSA Template After the Earthquake57 KB9/30/2014 8:19 AM
PSA Template Earthquake58 KB9/30/2014 8:19 AM

 Before an Earthquake

  • Prepare an Emergency Supply Kit:  store food, water and emergency supplies for at least five days.  Be sure to include a flashlight, extra batteries, portable radio, tools, blankets, sturdy shoes and sanitary items.
  • Check your home for potential hazards.  Know where and how to shut off electricity, gas and water at main switches and valves.  Is your water heater securely fastened to wall studs with straps or plumbers tape?  Make sure all appliances are connected to their fuel source with flexible lines.
  • Check your chimney and roof for loose tiles and bricks.  Replace or repair.
  • Secure tall/heavy furniture, such as china cabinets and bookcases, to wall studs.  Secure hanging objects by closing the opening in the hook.  Anchor pictures and mirrors to wall studs.  Attach a wooden or metal guardrail on open shelves to keep items from slipping or falling off.  Velcro fastenings may be used to secure items to their displays or work surfaces.  Velcro may also be used to fasten small appliances to their surfaces.  Consider removing heavy-framed pictures and mirrors from above beds, couches and chairs.  Determine whether the full swing of your hanging plants and lamps will strike a window, and if they will, consider moving them.
  • Identify poisons, toxic chemicals or solvents in breakable containers which are located in high or dangerous locations.  Move these containers to a well-ventilated storage area. Do not store certain chemicals such as ammonia and chlorine together.  These chemicals, when mixed, create deadly hazards.  Check labels on containers for other hazardous combinations.
  • Establish an Out of State Phone Contact.  Disasters, such as earthquakes, have a good chance of occurring when your family is not together.  Children may be at school, you at work or caught in commuter traffic.  Take a few minutes with your family and develop a reunion plan.  Choose a relative who lives at least 100 miles away, or better yet, in another state.  Make sure every family member carries this number with them!   

This plan will help you and your family to get back together, or if that is not possible, to let each other know where you are and that you are all right.

 During an Earthquake

DuckWhen on a SIDEWALK NEAR BUILDINGS, DUCK into a doorway to protect yourself from falling bricks, glass, plaster and other debris.

When DRIVING, pull over to the side of the road and stop. Avoid overpasses and power lines. Stay inside your vehicle until the shaking stops.

Take COVER under a sturdy desk, table or other furniture.  If that is not possible, seek cover against an interior wall and protect your head and neck with your arms. Avoid danger spots near windows, hanging objects, mirrors or tall furniture.

When in a HIGH-RISE BUILDING, move against an interior wall if you are not near a desk or table. Protect your head and neck with your arms. Do not use the elevators.Cover

When OUTDOORS, move to a clear area away from trees, signs, buildings, or downed electrical wires and poles.

When in a CROWDED STORE OR OTHER PUBLIC PLACE, move away from display shelves containing objects that could fall.  Do not rush for the exit.

When in a STADIUM OR THEATER, stay in your seat, get below the level of the back of the seat and cover your head and neck with your arms.

HoldIf you take cover under a sturdy piece of furniture, HOLD on to it and be prepared to move with it. Hold the position until the ground stops shaking and it is safe to move.


 After an Earthquake

  • Find out if anyone is injured, dial 911 and administer first aid until help arrives.
  • After the shaking stops instruct co-workers or customers to leave the building in an orderly manner. If your building is undamaged, you do not need to evacuate.
  • Seek safety outside. Instruct those leaving your building to move into safe areas away from buildings and other potential hazards.
  • Expect to find doorways and exit routes blocked. Have people assigned to clear the exits. Do not use elevators. Make sure fire escapes are safe before using.
  • Check for fires.
  • Check for people who might be trapped. Check storage rooms and restrooms. Check for people who might require special assistance.
  • Check for gas leaks, broken water lines or potential chemical hazards. Turn off utilities if you find a leak.
  • Notify the authorities of chemical hazards.
  • Rescue financial records and essential supplies from your business if you can do so safely.
  • Before sending employees home make arrangements to get back in contact at a later specified time.
  • Document property damage as soon as possible. Make itemized lists and take photographs of damage. Structural damage may require an engineering analysis.
  • Secure your facility before leaving.
  • Expect aftershocks. Aftershocks can inflict additional damage to weakened structures.
  • Don't put breakable items back in vulnerable places. Be careful when reentering your building if damaged.
  • Determine the safety of your building. Develop a prior agreement with a structural engineer to inspect your building immediately after an earthquake.