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Preparing for an Earthquake

According to the Geological Survey of Alabama, there are four zones of frequent earthquake activity with the potential to affect Alabama: the new Madrid Seismic Zone, the Southern Appalachian Seismic Zone, the South Carolina Seismic Zone, and the Bahamas Fracture Seismic Zone. Unfortunately, most of this part of the country is seemingly unprepared in terms of infrastructure to survive a big earthquake. Of particular concern in Alabama is the presence of three nuclear power plants of similar design to those in Japan which endured devastating radiation problems after a major earthquake occurred in March 2011. It is imperative for people in Alabama to become educated and prepare for earthquakes to reduce the loss of life and property should an earthquake occur.

The following information outlines steps and resources used to prepare for an earthquake:


  • Find safe spots in each room of your home that provide the most safety for you and your family. During an earthquake, most deaths and injuries are caused by collapsing building materials and heavy falling objects.
  • Learn the safest evacuation routes from your home, school, and business. Make sure you understand the school's emergency procedures for disasters. This will help you coordinate when, where, and how you can reunite with your family.


  • Gather supplies for use after an earthquake including a first aid kit, survival kits for the home, and emergency water and food. Store supplies for at least three days. Visit Get 10 to find out more information about preparing an emergency preparedness kit.
  • Make a list of important information and put it in a secure location.
  • Collect and store important documents in a fire-proof safe including birth certificates, social security cards, insurance policies, and wills.


  • Drop down on your hands and knees before the effects of the earthquake knock you down. This position protects you from falling, but still allows you to move if necessary.
  • Cover your head and neck under the shelter of a sturdy table or desk. If there is no shelter nearby, get down near an interior wall or next to low-lying furniture that won't fall on you. Try to stay clear of windows or glass that could shatter or other objects that could fall on you.

*Source: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Being Prepared for an Earthquake.


Page last updated: May 13, 2021