Step 3: Increase your Disaster IQ


Earthquakes are the shaking, rolling or sudden shock of the earth’s surface. Earthquakes happen along "fault lines" in the earth’s crust. Earthquakes can be felt over large areas although they usually last less than one minute. Earthquakes cannot be predicted -- although scientists are working on it!

Most of the time, you will notice an earthquake by the gentle shaking of the ground. You may notice hanging plants swaying or objects wobbling on shelves. Sometimes you may hear a low rumbling noise or feel a sharp jolt. A survivor of the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco said the sensation was like riding a bicycle down a long flight of stairs.

Earthquakes are sometimes called temblors, quakes, shakers or seismic activity. The most important thing to remember during an earthquake is to DROP, COVER and HOLD ON. So remember to DROP to the floor and get under something for COVER and HOLD ON during the shaking.



What Would You Do If There Was A Fire In Your Home?

It’s important to get out fast! Never hide or take time to gather up your belongings.

Fires Are Scary And Confusing.

They can be loud, burn very fast, and their smoke can make a room or home very dark. It helps to have a plan so you’ll know what to do to get out of your home!

Good escape plans help you get out of your home quickly in case of a fire. The best plans have two ways to get out of each room. If one way is blocked by the fire, you can get out the other way. When escaping, stay low to the floor. Smoke rises during a fire. The safest air is down low.

Help Your Family Make An Escape Plan

  • Try to find two ways out from every room in your house. The first way out should be a door. Every way needs to be planned and practiced with grown-ups.
  • Before opening any door in a fire, feel the door first at the bottom and then work your hand up the door to see if it is hot. A hot door means there may be fire on the other side. Try to get out another way
  • Stay low to the floor when escaping a fire
  • If you have security bars in your home, make sure you know how to open them in case you need to escape from fire
  • Pick a safe and easy-to-remember place outside the home to meet your family after you get out
  • After you get out, call 9-1-1 or the fire department
  • Stay outside no matter what. Don’t go back for anything



Flooding happens during heavy rains, when rivers overflow, when ocean waves come onshore, when snow melts too fast or when dams or levees break. Flooding may be only a few inches of water or it may cover a house to the rooftop. Floods that happen very quickly are called flashfloods. Flooding is the most common of all natural hazards. It can happen in every U.S. state and territory.

Important terms to know:

  • Flood Watch or Flashflood Watch -- Flooding may happen soon. Stay tuned to the radio or television news for more information. If you hear a flashflood warning, talk to an adult immediately
  • Flood Warning -- You may be asked to leave the area. A flood may be happening or will be very soon. Tell an adult if you hear a flood warning. If you have to leave the area, remember to bring your Disaster Supply Kit and make arrangements for your pets
  • Flashflood Warning -- A flashflood is happening. Get to high ground right away. Tell an adult



  • Listen to a radio or watch television for weather updates. If a tornado is coming you MUST seek shelter. An underground shelter is best, such as a basement or storm shelter. If you don’t have a basement, find an inside room or hallway or closet on the first floor AWAY FROM WINDOWS
  • If you are at school during a tornado, listen and do what your teacher says
  • If you are outside and cannot get inside, lie flat in a ditch or ravine. Lie face down and cover your head with your hands
  • If you are in a car, take shelter in a nearby building
  • After a tornado, watch for broken glass and power lines that are downed. If you see people who are injured, don’t move them unless they are in immediate danger. Call for help right away
  • Tornadoes can be very scary. If you are scared, be sure to talk to someone about it

Important Terms To Know:

  • Tornado Watch -- Tornadoes are possible. Stay tuned to the radio or television news
  • Tornado Warning -- A tornado has been sighted. Take shelter immediately