Although all 50 states are at some risk for earthquakes, the West Coast is especially vulnerable to major quakes. Los Angeles sits on top of the San Andreas Fault and experienced its wrath in 1994 when a huge earthquake struck the city of Northridge.
Being prepared and knowing what to do, during and after an earthquake, can help prevent injuries and ensure your have the supplies you need to stay safe and healthy.
Advance Earthquake Preparations
Make sure you have emergency supplies of food and water, as well as a first aid kit, an emergency supply of prescription medications, emergency candles, a knife, a portable flashlight, batteries, extra food and water for your pets, and cash. Make sure your family is protected with California health insurance in case anyone is injured during an earthquake or other emergency.
- Be aware of evacuation routes in your home.
- Pick safe places in each room of your home where you can duck and cover during an earthquake.
- Make sure your family has a plan for reuniting in case a major disaster happens when the family is not together.
- Make sure each family member has a flashlight and sturdy shoes by their bed.
- Make sure water heaters and other appliances are bolted or strapped to the wall.
- Bolt bookcases and other tall furniture to wall studs.
- Make sure you know how to shut off the gas valves in your home.
During a Quake
- Drop, cover, and hold onto something, if possible.
- Get under a sturdy piece of furniture, and cover your head and neck.
- Stay away from windows and large mirrors to avoid getting injured by shattered glass.
- If you’re outside during a quake, find a clear spot and drop to the ground. Stay away from buildings, power lines, streetlights, and trees.
After a Quake
- Expect aftershocks and possible landslides, or even a tsunami, for people in beach areas.
- When an aftershock occurs, drop and cover.
- Check yourself and your family members for injuries. Treat your injuries before the ones of those who are injured or trapped.
- Inspect your house for damages, and get everyone out, if the building is unsafe.
- Listen to a portable, battery-operated radio for emergency information if there is no power.
- Clean up any flammable or toxic liquids immediately.
- Watch out for and avoid fallen power lines.
For more information on earthquake preparedness, visit ready.gov/earthquakes.