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Emergency preparedness office

People with Special Needs Before an Earthquake

  • Write down any specific needs, limitations and capabilities that you, or a family member, have along with any necessary medications. Make a copy of the list and keep it in your purse or wallet. Share a copy with a family member or trusted friend.

  • Identify someone (a spouse, roommate, friend, neighbor, relative or co-worker) who can help you in case of an emergency. You may wish to provide a spare key to your home, or let them know where they can find one in an emergency. 

  • Always wear any medic alert tags or bracelets.

  • Keep your smartphone charged and keep chargers in different rooms. Post emergency numbers by each charger.

  • Label any equipment such as wheelchairs, walkers or canes with your name, address and phone number. Keep extra walking aids in strategic locations.

  • Keep emergency supplies by your bedside, at work and with your wheelchair if necessary. Items include:
    Medications, an extra pair of glasses, medical supplies and equipment such as bladder pads, catheters, hearing aids, batteries, pencils and papers (for the hearing impaired to communicate with persons who don't know sign language), copies of prescriptions, a flashlight and whistle.


During an Earthquake

  • If you are confined to a wheelchair, try to get under a doorway or into an inside corner, then lock the wheels and cover your head with your arms.

  • If you are able to, find shelter under a sturdy table or desk. Stay away from outer walls, windows, fireplaces, hanging objects and heavy objects, such as furniture, that could fall on you. 

  • If you are unable to move from a bed or chair, protect yourself from falling objects by covering up with blankets and pillows.

  • If you are outside, go to an open area away from trees, telephone poles and buildings and stay there.


After an Earthquake

  • Check yourself for injuries.

  • If you are trapped and can't call anyone, try to attract attention to your location – use your whistle or signal with your flashlight.

  • If the lights go out, don't use candles, matches or lighters during the outage. If there is a gas leak, these could cause an explosion.

  • Turn on your battery-operated TV or radio to receive emergency information and instructions.


For more information, visit The California Department of Aging,

The American Red Cross or Ready.Gov.

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