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Before an Earthquake

Before an Earthquake

Earthquakes happen around the world every day, killing around 8,000 people a year.

Although you’re not aware of them all, WA experienced 2,252 earthquakes between 2005 and 2015. That’s over 225 earthquakes a year!

Scientists are not able to predict where and when the next earthquake will be, which means you won’t receive a warning before an earthquake hits or have any time to plan what to do to be safe.

The information below will help you get your family and property prepared for an earthquake.

Find out the risk to your local area:

  • Ask your neighbours, insurance company, the State Emergency Service (SES) or Local government whether earthquakes have ever occurred in your area and what damage resulted
  • This map from Geoscience Australia shows WA’s history of earthquakes.

Preparing your home and family for an earthquake:

  • Check whether your insurance policy covers earthquake damage
  • Find safe places for you and your family to shelter in your home during an earthquake, such as under a sturdy table, desk or other heavy furniture
  • Practice how and where to “Drop, Cover and Hold On”
  • Decide where you and your family will meet if separated by an earthquake
  • Keep a list of emergency phone numbers for police, SES, fire, ambulance and gas, power and water suppliers handy
  • Prepare an emergency kit and store it somewhere everyone can access
  • Make sure chairs and beds are not under hanging items such as ceiling fans, pot plants, paintings and mirrors
  • Secure freestanding furniture, such as bookshelves and water heaters
  • Move fragile or heavy items and hazardous liquids, such as pesticides, cleaning fluids and paint to the bottom shelf.

Packing Your Earthquake Emergency Kit:

Your power, water, sewage, gas and telephone services may not be working after an earthquake, so this kit should be packed to provide your family with necessary supplies to last at least four days without essential services.

Essentials Important Extras
Drinking water - at least three litres of water per person, per day to last up to four days
Wallet with cash and ID, keys and phone with charger

Non-perishable food plus can opener, cutlery and cooking equipment Current photos of your family and pets in case they are separated from you
Portable battery operated radio with new and spare batteries Medication and toiletries, 30+ or 50+ sunscreen, disposable rubber gloves
Waterproof torch with new and spare batteries
 
Important documents (passports, birth certificates, insurance documents) and valuables (in a plastic bag)
Fully stocked First Aid Kit - make sure the contents are not out-of-date
 
Spare warm clothes and closed-in shoes for each member of the household

Woollen blankets A whistle to signal for help
Emergency contact numbers and your household survival plan Combination pocket knife
Special items for babies, the disabled, elderly or pets
Garbage bags for additional waterproofing and waste disposal
Safety glasses, work gloves and face masks
Long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy closed in footwear
 

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