Earthquakes can occur everywhere in California, which means all Californians live with an earthquake risk. In addition to the shaking caused by earthquakes, other things can occur such as landslides, surface fault ruptures, and liquefaction–all of which may cause injury or property damage. Most Californians live near an active earthquake fault
Are you ready for an earthquake?
The first 72 hours after an earthquake are the most critical. Utilities like electricity, gas, water, and telephones may not be working. Public safety services such as police and fire departments will busy handling serious crises. You need to be prepared to possibly live without these services for at least three days following a quake.
Before an Earthquake?
- Prepare an emergency kit of food, water, a flashlight, a portable battery-operated radio, batteries, medicines, a first aid kit, money, and clothing.
- Know the safe spots in each room–under sturdy tables or desks or against interior walls.
- Know the danger spots–near windows, mirrors, hanging objects, fireplaces, and tall, unsecured furniture.
- Conduct practice drills so you and your family know the safe locations in your home.
- Pre-plan. Decide how and when your family will reunite if separated during a quake.
- Out-of-area contact. Choose an out-of-state friend or relative whom family members can call after the quake to report their whereabouts and condition.
- Learn first aid and CPR.
- Learn how to shut off gas, water, and electricity in case the lines are damaged. SAFETY NOTE: Do not attempt to relight the gas pilot. Call the utility company.
- Check chimneys, roofs, walls, and foundations for stability. Make sure your house is bolted to its foundation.
- Secure your water heater and major appliances as well as tall, heavy furniture, hanging plants, mirrors, and picture frames–especially those over beds.
- Keep breakables, heavy objects, and flammable liquids such as paints, pest sprays, and cleaning products in secured cabinets or on lower shelves.
During an Earthquake?
- If outdoors, get into an open area away from trees, buildings, walls, and power lines.
- If indoors, stay there. Get under a desk or table or stand in a corner.
- If in a high-rise building, stay away from windows and outside walls. Get under a table. Do not use elevators.
- If driving, pull over to the side of the road and stop. Avoid overpasses and power lines. Stay inside your car until the shaking is over.
- If in a crowded public place, do not rush for the doors. Crouch and cover your head and neck with your hands and arms.
After an Earthquake?
- Unless there is an immediate, life-threatening emergency, do not attempt to use the telephone. Leave phone lines open for those in medical crisis.
- Check for gas or water leaks, broken electrical wiring, and ruptured sewage lines. If there is damage, turn the utility off at the source and immediately report gas leaks to your utility company. Check for downed power lines; warn others to stay away from them.
- Check your building for cracks and damage, including the roofs, chimneys, and foundation.
- Turn on your portable radio for instructions and news reports. For your own safety, cooperate fully with public safety officials and follow instructions.
- Do not use your vehicle unless there is an emergency. Keep the streets clear for emergency vehicles.
- Be prepared for aftershocks.
- Stay calm and lend a hand to others.
- If you evacuate, leave a message at your home telling family members and others where you can be found.