How to Create an Earthquake Preparedness Plan for Family Use

If you want to be prepared for a natural disaster and you live in a zone with high seismic activity, it is essential to ensure that your home is as shakeproof as possible, you keep a kit with all the survival essentials at hand, and you have an earthquake preparedness plan for family use.

The absence of even one of these critical elements can put you and members of your household in significant danger in the event of a disaster. In this guide, we will focus on the most fundamental part of earthquake preparedness - an emergency plan.

Who Needs an Earthquake Emergency Action Plan?

A notepad with an emergency plan

Earthquakes are among the most unpredictable natural disasters. Thus, one can never be too careful when it comes to preparing for this contingency.

A family emergency preparedness plan for earthquake response is a top priority for those living in areas with a high earthquake hazard. Read ahead to find out if your location belongs to a risk zone.

US Seismic Zones 

Seismic zones are areas where earthquakes tend to focus. Florida and North Dakota are said to be the states with the fewest recorded earthquakes

Yet, the US Geological Survey (USGS) highlights 16 states with a high seismic hazard level, namely:

  • Alaska
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Kentucky
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • Oregon
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Utah
  • Washington
  • Wyoming

Out of these locations, California has the highest seismic risk and has experienced several strong quakes with a magnitude exceeding 7.5 since 1812.

If your state happens to be on the list above, it is highly recommended that you take earthquake preparation seriously.

Steps of Creating an Earthquake Family Preparedness Plan

Terra Frma Evacuation Kit


A good family preparedness plan for earthquake hazards requires a consistent approach. Here is a step-by-step instruction on creating a thorough guide you can follow in the event of a natural calamity:

1. Understand the Hazard

First and foremost, it is vital to understand the hazard you are dealing with. Take your time to research information about earthquakes, how they happen, and why they are dangerous. Some useful sources with reliable facts on the topic are USGS and the site of the British Geological Survey.

2. Arrange a Family Meeting

It is essential that not only you but also members of your household are aware of the seismic hazard and participate in the creation of a family emergency preparedness plan for earthquake survival. This way, you can ensure a full understanding of the actions that need to be taken in the event of a natural disaster and get valuable ideas on how to better implement the strategy.

3. Make an Evacuation Plan

The best way to create a family evacuation plan is by answering the following questions:

  • How will you receive emergency alerts and warnings?
  • What is your shelter plan?
  • What is the evacuation route?
  • What is your household communication plan?
  • Do you need to update your earthquake survival kit?
  • When tackling these important questions, try to be as detailed as possible and document the responses in a logical and clear manner. You can also follow the steps in the Earthquake chapter of the Guidebook in the Grab + Go Box to structure your strategy.

    As for the evacuation route, it is best to print out a floor plan of your apartment or house and draw a safe passageway with a bright marker. It is also advisable to mark the location of your emergency kits for your reference.

    4. Practice It

    When your emergency plan is ready, put theory into practice. This will help you memorize the steps better and demonstrate the possible flaws in your strategy. 

    To keep the plan fresh in your mind at all times, hold an earthquake drill every two or three months and rehearse your actions. You can track how often you practice on the Drill Card provided in the Grab + Go Box.

    5. Check Comprehension

    It is of utmost importance that you and your family members understand what to do before, during, and after a quake and why you have to perform such actions.

    For instance, when you speak of the golden rule “Drop, Cover, Hold On!”, it’s essential that everyone realizes that they shouldn’t run or try to hide in the doorways until the shaking stops for safety reasons.

    Get Proper Equipment

    A family of three people taking cover under a table

    When your earthquake survival strategy is complete, you must ensure that you have high-quality equipment ready. Such items include Action Plans and emergency kits.

    Following the above-mentioned steps will enable you to create an earthquake preparedness plan for family use and avoid panic in case a natural disaster strikes. Stay safe!