Earthquake Preparedness

As if we don’t have enough to worry about these days, unfortunately the threat of an earthquake is always present and it’s important we are prepared. The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) recently announced the launch of a public awareness campaign to educate all California residents about California’s innovative earthquake warning system — Earthquake Warning California. The campaign, “Don’t Get Caught Off Guard,” directs Californians to no-cost tools, resources, and information, including the smartphone MyShake App, Android Earthquake Alerts, Government Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs), and the website.

International ShakeOut Day is coming up on October 15. The Great Shakeout earthquake drill occurs globally to provide education and training on earthquake safety, awareness, and protective actions. Here are some important reminders to be sure you are ready.

Drop, Cover, and Hold On!

It’s important to learn to immediately protect yourself after the first jolt… don’t wait to see if the earthquake shaking will be strong! In MOST situations, you will reduce your chance of injury if you:

  • DROP where you are, onto your hands and knees. This position protects you from being knocked down and also allows you to stay low and crawl to shelter if nearby.
  • COVER your head and neck with one arm and hand
    • If a sturdy table or desk is nearby, crawl underneath it for shelter
    • If no shelter is nearby, crawl next to an interior wall (away from windows)
    • Stay on your knees; bend over to protect vital organs
  • HOLD ON until shaking stops
    • Under shelter: hold on to it with one hand; be ready to move with your shelter if it shifts
    • No shelter: hold on to your head and neck with both arms and hands.

The main point is to not try to move but to immediately protect yourself as best as possible where you are.

Learn more and register at Additional information on earthquakes, including resources for people with disabilities, is available at

The Great ShakeOut follows National Preparedness Month in September, and is another reminder to check on (or create!) emergency kits and go-bags (, discuss emergency travel plans with loved ones, and check your home or place of work for earthquake-related hazards (such as unsecured bookcases and high-hanging fragile or heavy frames and decorations).