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American Red Cross Urges Earthquake Preparedness Locally

The devastating 9.0 magnitude earthquake and the tsunami in Japan has affected hundreds of thousands people both in the Pacific and in the United States. In the aftermath this disaster, the American Red Cross encourages Western Washington residents to evaluate their own personal earthquake plan and take steps to be better prepared for a disaster.

“Our hearts go out to the people of Japan, many of whom have lost loved ones, and homes,” said Randy Hutson, CEO for the American Red Cross Serving King & Kitsap Counties. “The earthquake in Japan is an important reminder that people need to look at their own personal preparedness and take steps to make sure they know what to do if an earthquake or other disaster occurs in this area.”

In the days ahead, the Red Cross will continue to work with state and federal response partners to further refine and assess our response plans for future disasters.

Earthquake Preparedness Tips:

Become aware of fire evacuation and earthquake plans for all of the buildings you occupy regularly.

Pick safe places in each room of your home, workplace and/or school. A safe place could be under a piece of furniture or against an interior wall away from windows, bookcases or tall furniture that could fall on you.

Practice drop, cover and hold on in each safe place. If you do not have sturdy furniture to hold on to, sit on the floor next to an interior wall and cover your head and neck with your arms.

Keep a flashlight and sturdy shoes by each person’s bed.

Make sure your home is securely anchored to its foundation.

Bolt and brace water heaters and gas appliances to wall studs.

Bolt bookcases, china cabinets and other tall furniture to wall studs.

Hang heavy items, such as pictures and mirrors, away from beds, couches and anywhere people sleep or sit.

Brace overhead light fixtures.

Install strong latches or bolts on cabinets. Large or heavy items should be closest to the floor.

Learn how to shut off the gas valves in your home and keep a wrench handy for that purpose.

Learn about your area’s seismic building standards and land use codes before you begin new construction.

Keep and maintain an emergency supplies kit in an easy-to- access location.

Have an out of area contact because local lines can be difficult to access during a disaster. During a disaster, family members can call the contact person from out of state to report on their own status and check on others. A SMS text messages from a wireless communication device will often work if even if a cellular signal is not strong enough to make a voice call.

To learn about what do during or after an earthquake please go to or For more information or to set up a disaster preparedness presentation for a community group, contact us at (206) 709-4528 in King County or (360) 377-3761 in Kitsap County.

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The American Red Cross is a non-profit, humanitarian agency dedicated to helping make families and communities safer at home and around the world. For more information, visit