Earthquakes happen anytime and anywhere. And when an earthquake strikes, you may not have much time to respond. In the Federal Way area, an earthquake could cut off basic services such as gas, water, electricity and telephones for days. Following an earthquake, local officials including water/sewer crews will be on the scene, but they cannot reach everyone immediately. Your family should be prepared to cope with the emergency until help arrives.

Before an Earthquakes

  • Before an earthquake, designate a contact outside the state that your family can call if they're not at home. If the phone lines are down, it's common to be able to call out of state, but not around the block.
  • Plan to be self-sufficient for 72 hours.
  • Assemble a First Aid Kit before an earthquake strikes.
  • Store water and a non-perishable food supply before an earthquake strikes.
  • Before an earthquake strikes, strap your water heater to the wall and make sure it is fitted with a flexible gas supply line to reduce the danger of a fire or explosion 

If an Earthquake Occurs

  • Remember, in an earthquake, "Drop, Cover, and Hold."
  • If you are home during an earthquake, stay calm and don't use the telephone unless necessary because the phone lines will be jammed.
  • In an earthquake, stay where you are and take cover under a sturdy structure, such as a table or desk. Turn away from glass and move away from heavy objects.
  • Your utility workers will know of the damage to the water and sewer systems and will reach your home as soon as possible.
  • After an earthquake, account for everyone in your care. Check utilities. Gas, electric and water lines may be broken. If water pipes are leaking, shut off the supply at the main valve, located either outside or in the garage.
  • You may use emergency water from your hot water tank. To drain water from a tank, first open the valve at the top or turn on a hot water faucet. Drain from the tap at the bottom of the hot water tank into a clean container.
  • Water from the toilet tank may be used if the tank does not have any added chemical treatments (cleaners).