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Evaluating Your Preparedness for Earthquakes

Earthquakes occur without warning and cannot be predicted, but you can be prepared. Most earthquakes measuring 3.0 or less in magnitude are not felt by most people. Damage generally occurs in earthquakes exceeding a magnitude of 5.0.


All 50 states have at least some risk of earthquakes. Areas most at risk of earthquakes are those near major seismic zones, but other areas also are at risk due to both natural and man-made causes.


Document your plans to react during an earthquake, train your people, establish communication and contingency plans, prepare an emergency kit, and maintain your building.


In the event an earthquake strikes your organization, remember to drop (so you don’t lose balance and fall), cover (your head with your hands or crawl under a sturdy table or desk), and hold on until the shaking stops.


After an earthquake, safely evacuate the building and do not return until you know it is structurally sound and aftershocks have subsided. Check for injuries and consult with local officials for further instruction. Contact CM Select to discuss any damage.


Earthquake safety preparation can be simple. Consider these six easy steps from the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety to prevent earthquake damage and injuries:

  • Brace your water heater: Use plumber’s strapping and L-brackets to prevent water damage and gas leaks from your water heater tipping over.
  • Secure televisions: Mount flat-panel televisions to the wall or strap/tether televisions placed on a cart or furniture to a sturdy surface.
  • Anchor bookshelves: Heavy, tall furniture, such as bookshelves, should be anchored to the wall so as not to fall and cause injuries.
  • Secure wall hangings: Ensure pictures, mirrors, and other wall hangings are securely anchored to wall studs and hung securely on their hangers.
  • Latch cabinets: Prevent contents in cabinets from falling by securing cabinet doors with latches or strong magnets.
  • Enclose fluorescent lights: Install plastic sleeves over fluorescent tube lights to prevent glass shards from spreading if a light falls.

CM Select also recommends identifying utility shut-offs for easy access, if needed, and not placing heavy, unsecured items on top shelves.

For more earthquake preparedness training, visit, or


You can use a resource like the “Prepare Your Organization for an Earthquake Playbook” from to develop plans specific to your organization.


Click here to view and download our Evaluating Your Preparedness for Earthquakes Resource.

The information contained in these materials is intended solely to provide general guidance on topics that may be of interest to you. While we have made reasonable efforts to present accurate and reliable information, Church Mutual Insurance Company, S.I. and its affiliates expressly disclaim all liability for any errors or omissions, or for any actions you take or fail to take based on these materials. Links to any external websites provided in these materials are not maintained by Church Mutual Insurance Company, S.I. or its affiliates. Church Mutual Insurance Company, S.I. and its affiliates are not responsible for and do not in any way approve or endorse the content or accuracy of such sites. The information provided in these materials may not apply to your particular facts or circumstances; therefore, you should seek professional advice prior to relying on any information that may be found herein. © 2020 Church Mutual Insurance Company, S.I.. All Rights Reserved.