It is very important that you set up a communications plan with your loved ones, friends, and neighbors. Decide in advance who should stay put, and who should try and get in touch and gather others.
Make sure you have an up-to-date phone number list which also includes the numbers of doctors and emergency services. Make sure you know where the gas and water mains and electrical boxes are in your home so you can turn them off in the event of an emergency.
Also, make sure that everyone knows where the 'safe zones' for hunkering down are during aftershocks. These should be areas that are relatively sparse and tucked away.
Protect your head with your arms and if possible crawl under a desk during an earthquake. Many people may still run for the doorway as well.
If you live in a metropolitan area where there is a lot of driving, chances are, you could be on the road during an earthquake. So, you should treat your automobile like your home in regards to earthquake preparation.
Keep some supplies, like an earthquake and/or first aid kit and water, in your car as well as your house. Canned beans are an especially good emergency food option as they are rich in protein.
Also stock up on tomatoes, peas, corn, and chicken soup for nutrients. Make sure to check the expiration dates on your food and cycle it throughout the year, eating the expiring foods and replacing them with new canned goods.
Bottled water is vital for your survival, as your main water supplies could be toxic or there could be a water main break. Similarly, check the expiration dates on the bottles and cycle your water throughout the year.
You will need a portable radio or scanner with extra batteries to obtain up-to-the-minute news after a tremor and if the phone lines are down. This may also mean that your DSL, Wi-Fi, cable, or satellite dish could be down.
Make sure that you have several very durable, dependable, and bright flashlights with extra batteries. Keep these throughout your house and in your car so that they are easily accessible.
You should probably have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen at all times anyways, but it is also a good idea to keep a small one in your car just in case. Most hardware stores carry first aid and/or earthquake kits that you can buy for your car and your house.
Have an adjustable wrench handy just in case you may need to turn off your gas or water after a tremor hits. Matches are a must are also a must, and if it is winter, remember your heating and electricity could be off due to the quake.
Determine whether there is a gas leak before lighting a match or fire. You should have a smoke detector already installed in every room in your house.
This is especially important in earthquake precautions as a quake could send power lines down and cause a fire, especially in hillside areas with lots of trees. It is good to have boots or heavy duty shoes near your bed or easily accessible.
Often glass is the detritus of an earthquake, so walking around barefoot or in sandals could be dangerous. Depending on how in-depth you want to go in your prep, there are also longer term options that you can put in place to maximize your comfort after a major earthquake.
Traditional power generators can be pricey for the amount of power you may need to generate for your home but they are an effective backup system when there is a power outage in your home after an earthquake. A solar power generator connects to solar panels on your roof, generating extra power for your home.
If you want to have control over your plumbing in the event of earthquake related crisis, the best way to start is by getting your own septic tank. You can even get a small scale sewage system, independent of city-controlled pipes.