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Earthquake Preparedness

Earthquakes are a fact of life in California but that doesn’t mean you can’t be prepared. Earthquake Warning California created the MyShake App, along with Android Earthquake Alerts and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) that can give anywhere from a few seconds of notice to tens of seconds notice that an earthquake is about to happen.

Earthquakes can be so small they're unnoticeable and cause little or no damage, while major quakes can be accompanied by roaring and rumbling sounds, rolling ground, violent jolts, shaking and widespread damage. Earthquakes are often followed by aftershocks, too, which can be large or small and may cause more destruction. Surviving an earthquake, the aftershocks and reducing your risk of injury depends on the three P's:

Planning, Preparing and Practicing

Create an earthquake readiness plan for your family using guidelines provided in the links below. You may only have seconds to protect yourself and your loved ones in an earthquake, so preparing and practicing beforehand will help your reactions become instinctive.

  • For comprehensive information on how to protect yourself and your family before, during and after an earthquake, visit the American Red Cross website.
  • Plan how you will communicate with family members during or after an earthquake by making a family emergency communication plan. Make sure your babysitter and pet sitters know of or are included in your plan.
  • The American Red Cross has detailed information on how to prepare a Disaster Kit.

Remember to:

    • Sketch a floor plan of your home- walk through each room and discuss evacuation details with your family. Have each family member take a picture of the floor plan and store it on their iPhone/smartphone.
    • Mark where your first aid kits and fire extinguishers are located. Store a type ABC Fire extinguisher in an easily accessible location.
    • Plan a second way to exit each room or area. If special equipment is needed, mark where it is located.
    • Mark where the utility switches or valves are located, and learn how to turn off your gas and water mains, as well as electricity.
    • Indicate the location of your family's emergency outdoor meeting place.
    • Keep several flashlights in easily accessible places around the house.
    • Keep a wrench or turn-off tool in waterproof wrap near the gas meter.
    • Know whether you live, work or play in a tsunami hazard zone.
    • Obtain a NOAA Weather Radio with the Public Alert feature to notify you of tsunamis and other hazards.  
    • Keep a flashlight, slippers and gloves next to beds.
    • Keep your vehicle's gas tank at least half full.
    • Determine safe spaces away from windows in each room of your home. Choose spots where it is unlikely something will fall on you.

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