Look for fires in your own home and the homes of your neighbors. Look out for downed power lines. Has anyone been injured? Is your house damaged enough to require it to be evacuated? Consider your chimney as a threat to your life until you have assured yourself that it’s undamaged. Check for gas leaks, and if you smell gas, turn off the main gas valve to your house (Fig. 11-7), which will extinguish all your pilot lights.
In case of a fire, try to put it out with your fire extinguisher or your bucket of sand. The most likely place for a fire is your wood stove if it has turned over. You have a few minutes to put the fire out. If the fire gets away from you, get everybody out of the house. An earthquake might cause electric and telephone lines to snap. Even if you have no power, do not touch any downed power lines.
This is not the time to get in your car and try to drive around town looking at the damage. Roads will be clogged, making life tough for emergency vehicles. Stay where you are and turn on your portable radio. You’ll be given status reports and told what to do and what not to do. If you’re told to evacuate your neighborhood, do so. You will be told where to go. Do not decide on your own that you can tough it out where you are. Lock your house, unless it’s too damaged to do so, to protect against looters.