Don’t Let Earthquakes Catch You Off Guard

Did You Know? Most Californians say they are very or somewhat knowledgeable about the steps they can take to prepare for a natural disaster such as an earthquake, yet 60% remain highly concerned about the potential impact of a disaster on their household. To ensure all Californians are prepared, the California Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) recently launched the “Don’t Get Caught Off Guard” campaign to promote awareness of critical earthquake warning resources available at no-cost through Earthquake Warning California.

Earthquake Warning California’s “Don’t Get Caught Off Guard” campaign is a statewide education effort to help the public learn about earthquake warning tools and resources. Cal OES, in collaboration with the California Integrated Seismic Network Partners from United States Geological Survey (USGS), University of California – Berkeley (UCB), California Institute of Technology (Caltech), and California Geological Survey (CGS) launched the nation’s first State Earthquake Early Warning System in October of 2019. The system uses ground motion sensors and sensors in smartphones to detect an earthquake before humans can feel it and issues a ShakeAlert® Message in real time so they can take cover before shaking happens. An earthquake warning can provide additional life-saving seconds for people to Drop, Cover, and Hold On.

Earthquake Warning California resources include:

  • Information about constructing an emergency plan
  • How to protect yourself and your family before, during and after an earthquake
  • Android Earthquake Alerts developed in partnership with Cal OES and USGS
  • The MyShake App — a smartphone app developed in partnership with Cal OES and UC Berkeley that can provide users with a few seconds of notification that shaking is about to occur
  • Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) — free notifications delivered to cell phones in emergency situations.
  • Information for business sectors to plan for life-saving actions in the event of an alert, such as safely slowing mass transit systems, powering down equipment, or bringing elevators to an emergency stop.
  • Links to the California Integrated Seismic Network Partners for additional technical and system information.

When you receive a warning or feel shaking, you should take protective actions (drop to the ground, cover your head with your arms, and hold onto your neck with both hands) until shaking stops, avoiding doorways and windows.

To learn which resources are available to you and how to react, visit