Safety Tips: Earthquake Preparedness

SAN DIEGO GAS & ELECTRIC reminds customers that advance preparation is critical and offers these safety tips to help reduce the possibility of injuries or damage to property that may occur during the next quake.

Before an earthquake:

*Follow the rules contained in current plumbing codes, requiring that water heaters be secured to the wall studs to prevent them from moving or toppling over. The water heater should be fastened securely to the wall studs in two places -- the upper and lower one-third of the tank -- with heavy bolts and metal straps. A quake may cause an unsecured water heater to move, possibly breaking the gas connectors, which may result in a fire. The loss of a water heater also would deprive a home of a valuable water source that may be needed for cooking and drinking.

*Replace semi-rigid (aluminum or copper) gas appliance connectors with approved connectors made of corrugated metal. These are less likely to crack during an earthquake.

*Have a 12-inch or larger adjustable wrench handy to manually turn off the gas meter should it be necessary.

*Know where all the electrical panels are located in and around the home and how to turn the electricity off in case of emergency.

After an earthquake:

Do not turn off the gas meter after an earthquake, unless there is the smell or sound of gas escaping.

*If an appliance appears to have a leak, turning off the valve between the appliance and gas line may stop the leak. If this does not stop the leak, the gas should be shut off at the meter.

*If there is the smell or sound of gas escaping, do not light a match, candle or cigarette, and do not turn electrical devices -- not even a light switch -- on or off. (If calling the utility for assistance, call from a safe location, away from the leak.) The gas should be manually turned off at the meter. Using an adjustable wrench, make a quarter-turn of the valve, moving it from a vertical position to a horizontal position. This will shut off the flow of gas. (A diagram and instructions for turning off the gas meter are printed in the "Survival Guide" section of most telephone directory white pages and is also available at

*If the gas is shut off at the meter, do not attempt to turn it back on without the help of the utility. Gas service should not be restored until the utility determines that the customer's facilities, appliances or other gas equipment have been made safe.

*Should there be a downed electrical line, do not touch the equipment. The line may still be energized and dangerous.

*If running an emergency electric generator during an outage, do not connect it to the home's electrical system. Doing so could result in death or serious injury and also threaten any utility employees on nearby power lines. Plugging the generator back into the electric system also can damage appliances.

Download Center

  • Safety Metrics Guide

    Is your company leveraging its safety data and analytics to maintain a safe workplace? With so much data available, where do you start? This downloadable guide will give you insight on helpful key performance indicators (KPIs) you should track for your safety program.

  • Job Hazard Analysis Guide

    This guide includes details on how to conduct a thorough Job Hazard Analysis, and it's based directly on an OSHA publication for conducting JHAs. Learn how to identify potential hazards associated with each task of a job and set controls to mitigate hazard risks.

  • A Guide to Practicing “New Safety”

    Learn from safety professionals from around the world as they share their perspectives on various “new views” of safety, including Safety Differently, Safety-II, No Safety, Human and Organizational Performance (HOP), Resilience Engineering, and more in this helpful guide.

  • Lone Worker Safety Guide

    As organizations digitalize and remote operations become more commonplace, the number of lone workers is on the rise. These employees are at increased risk for unaddressed workplace accidents or emergencies. This guide was created to help employers better understand common lone worker risks and solutions for lone worker risk mitigation and incident prevention.

  • EHS Software Buyer's Guide

    Learn the keys to staying organized, staying sharp, and staying one step ahead on all things safety. This buyer’s guide is designed for you to use in your search for the safety management solution that best suits your company’s needs.

  • Vector Solutions

Featured Whitepaper

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - May 2022

    May 2022


      How Wearable Technology is Transforming Safety and the Industrial Workplace
      Five Tips to Improve Safety in Confined Spaces
      Monitor for Asbestos to Help Save Lives
      Fall Protection Can Be Surprising
    View This Issue