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earthquake preparedness in california

Alaska Quake Reminds Californians to Be Prepared

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As Alaska deals with the damages caused by a magnitude 7.0 earthquake, Californians are being reminded of the dangers of earthquakes. Us Californians are used to hearing about the next “Big One,” but we often tend to forget about it. This is usually due to the fact that we hear about it so much, that it starts to go in one ear and out the other. However, this is not something we should forget about, so here is a condensed list of things to remember about earthquakes and prepping for them.

  • Duck and cover when the shaking starts. Know where tables and desks are that you can get under to protect yourself from falling debris.
  • Have emergency plans. Know how to get out of any room in a building, and have a plan with family on where to meet up in the event of an earthquake.
  • Have supplies stored away. The earthquake can damage roads, making the gathering of supplies after the fact almost impossible. Even if you can get to the store, there is no guarantee that the store will be stocked after a big quake.
  • Know how to shutoff the electricity, gas, and water to your house in the event that the shaking damages any of those three systems.
  • Have important documents in a safe place, such as a fire safe.

These are just a few things to know in the event of an earthquake, if you want to more detailed information, click here. Many of the precautions listed above are things that people who experienced the Alaska Quake referenced as keeping them safe during the earthquakes and its hundreds of aftershocks.

A magnitude 7.0 earthquake is no laughing matter. The infamous 1994 Northridge Earthquake was actually smaller, clocking in at magnitude of 6.7. California is long overdue for a big quake, and the best thing that we can do is be prepared.

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Creating an Emergency Kit

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As Californians, many of us know that the “Big One” could be just around the corner. We have to live in a constant state of preparedness. This means having plans for what to do in the event of an earthquake, and having supplies ready. The following is a list of supplies that every household should have stashed away in a safe place where everybody knows, just in case.

  • 3 gallons of water per person. This should last each individual 3 days.
  • A 3 day supply of non-perishable foods
  • Baby food, diapers, and wipes if you have a baby
  • Pet food and extra water if you have a pet
  • A can opener
  • Cups, utensils, and plates
  • First aid kit
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Battery powered, or crank powered, radio and flashlight. Plus extra batteries.
  • A whistle
  • Portable phone charger
  • Prescription medicine and glasses for those who need them
  • List of contact info for family members and friends
  • Important documents in a waterproof and fireproof container
  • Waterproof matches
  • A blanket
  • A supply of cash for food and travel for at least a week
  • A change of clothes and shoes for each family member
  • Activities for young children, such as crayons and coloring books

All of this can be very helpful in the event of any emergency. While this can offer a great amount of peace of mind, it is important to remember that certain items should be refreshed every six months or so. Things like canned foods, water, and batteries should be replaced from time to time to ensure they are still good in the event of an earthquake.


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Preparing for an Earthquake

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Here in California, is important to be prepared for an earthquake at any moment. Our state has dozens of earthquakes a day, it’s just that they are too small for people to notice. However, once in a while, California gets hit with a large earthquake that damages property and infrastructure. While rare, it is important to be prepared for these types of earthquakes. It could save your life, as well as the lives of your loved ones.


To begin with, it is important to have a good supply of food and water stored away. How much? Enough food and water to last each family member 3 days. That may seem like a lot, but resources may be hard to get in the first few days after a large earthquake.


It is also extremely important to have a family emergency plan. Try to come up with 2 ways to exit every room in the house. Designate a safe area outside where everyone in the family knows to meet after an earthquake. Make sure everyone knows where the shut off valves and switches are for the utilities. This means water, gas, and electricity. The shaking can damage these systems and cause leaks, which can be dangerous. That is why everyone should know how to turn these off in an emergency.

Everyone in the family should also know the location of emergency equipment such as fire extinguishers and first aid kits. In addition, everyone should have a flashlight and a pair of shoes or slippers near their bed. These will come in handy if an earthquake happens during the night.

You should keep important documents, such as social security cards, birth certificates, and proof of ownership certificates in a fire proof safe. The safe should be stored in a safe place that can be accessed in times of emergency. Also, be sure to mount all tall object to your walls to prevent them from falling over during an earthquake.

Doing all of this is a great way to prepare for an earthquake. Knowing all of this can also help keep you and your loved one’s calm during such an event, which can save lives.

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What to Do During an Earthquake

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As residents of California, it is important for all of us to be prepared for an earthquake at any moment. After all, many of us live very close to the San Andreas Fault. Earthquakes can occur at any moment, and be truly devastating. This is why it is important that we all know what to do when an earthquake strikes.

If you are indoors when an earthquake strikes, you need to find a sturdy piece of furniture and get beneath that. Be sure to cover your head and neck with your hands and arms as best as you can. Do not stand in a doorway, since these are not typically any stronger than any other wall in the building. Be sure to stay away from windows or other glass objects that could shatter and break. Remain inside in a safe area until the shaking stops, and beware of falling debris as you exit the building.

If you are outside during an earthquake, find an open area away from tall trees, structures, and power lines, and then drop to the ground. If you are in a vehicle, pull over to the side of the road as quickly and safely as you can. You want to stop at a place that is away from tall structures, trees, powerlines, and over or underpasses. The vehicle will bounce around during the event, but stay inside. Do not leave the vehicle if there are downed powerlines near you. After the shaking has finished, you can drive on, but remember to do so with extreme caution as the shaking could have damaged the roadway.


Above everything else, it is important to remain calm. This will help you make better decisions, and help keep others calm around you.


These are just tips for what to do during an actual earthquake. A person needs to do a lot more planning and prepping if they want to be truly prepared for an earthquake. For instance, a person should have stored enough food and water supplies for 3 days for each member of the household. However, just knowing what to do during an earthquake can save several lives.

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Earthquake Awareness in California

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Living in California, it is important to remember that earthquakes come with the territory. Earthquakes are a large part of living in this state. An earthquake can happen at any moment. It can either be very minor, or severely damaging. Due to this fact, it is important to always be prepared for an earthquake.

However, when confronted with the possibility of an earthquake, many people have no idea on what they should do. They do not know what supplies they should have ready or what to do when the shaking starts. This article should help with that.

Preparing for a Quake

One of the best ways to be safe during an earthquake, is to prepare for one. Have a family emergency plan ready. This means have two escape routes planned for each room in your house. Make sure every family member knows where utility switches are and how to turn them off. This includes:

  • Water
  • Power
  • Gas

Knowing this can help prevent extra damage being caused due to a leak in the gas or water lines, and prevent electrocution if power lines are damaged.

It is also important that everyone in the family knows the location of emergency equipment such as:

  • First aid kit
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Emergency food and water supplies
  • Important medicine, such as insulin for family members with diabetes

Major earthquakes are capable of crippling local infrastructure, making it difficult to obtain needed resources like food and water. A family should have enough provisions for each member to last 3 days.

Important documents, such as:

  • Birth certificates
  • Social security cards
  • Wills
  • Insurance policies
  • Proof of ownership certificates
  • Anything else you deem important

These should all be kept in a fire proof safe.

Keep your house safe by mounting all tall furnishings to the wall. Doing this can prevent them from falling over during a quake. Be careful of the placement of breakable glass objects such as mirrors. They should not be in located in positions where they can fall and injure someone.

Keep a pair of shoes or slippers, as well as a good flashlight, near your bed. This will help if an earthquake occurs during the night. The shoes will help prevent you from stepping on any broken glass, or other sharps objects.

During the Event – Indoors

During an earthquake, find cover under a sturdy piece of furniture such as a desk and do your best to cover you head and neck with your hands and arms. It is important to remain calm and move as little as possible. Most injuries occur during earthquakes because a person was moving and fell during the quake.

Stay away from any windows or glass objects. They can break during an earthquake and cause harm to an individual.
Do not be alarmed if the sprinkler system or smoke alarms in the building go of since this is common during an earthquake, even if there is no fire. The shaking can damage their systems and set them off.

If you are indoors, stay inside until the shaking stops, and if you smell gas, vacate the premises immediately.

During the Event – Outdoors

If you are outside when the shaking starts, move away from any large structures, powerlines, or trees as these may fall during the event. Get to an open area and drop to the ground. You do not want to fall over because of the shaking.

If you are in a vehicle, pull over to the side of the road as quickly and safely as you can. Try to find a clear area to park. You want to avoid objects that can fall on you, such as trees, powerlines, and overpasses. Do not get out of your car during the shaking or if power lines fall near you. Your car will bounce and shake, but should remain safe.

After the Shaking Has Stopped

Once the shaking has stopped move outside. If you are on an upper floor of a multi-story building, use the stairs to get down. Do not use an elevator since it could have been damaged. Before exiting any building, check to see if there is any debris that could fall on you as you exit.

Be aware that aftershocks are a possibility, especially with larger quakes. If you live in a coastal area be wary of potential tsunamis.
Check yourself for injuries before doing anything else. After that, you can begin assessing the damage and assisting people. Do not move injured persons unless their lives are in immediate danger.

During emergencies, do not use phones for anything other than emergency reasons. Lines will most likely be jammed. If you need to send information, text may work when phone calls don’t. Do to jammed phone lines, and the possibility that electricity may be down, it can be a good idea to keep your cellphone off unless you absolutely need it to conserve your battery. If you have to have it on, and the cell network is spotty, try putting your phone on airplane mode. This will prevent your phone from constantly trying to connect to a network, and save battery life.

A good strategy for emergency situations is to have an emergency contact who lives outside of the state, or at least the city, where you live. This way they are less likely to be affected by the same disaster as you. You can inform this person that you are all right, and have them relay this information to other important family members and friends.
Do not re-enter the building until an all clear has been given. Once you do re-enter the building, do so with caution. There may be debris on the ground, and the structure may have weakened. Again, be prepared to experience aftershocks.

Stay Calm, and Stay Safe

Above everything else, remain calm. Keeping a level head will not only help you make smart decisions, it will help people around you stay calm as well. This can make a huge difference during an emergency situation.