Although earthquakes occur on a near-daily basis in southern California, most are small with negligible impact. However, geologists believe that the potential for a damage-producing earthquake is moderately high and just a matter of time.
Preparing for a damaging earthquake
Every resident and business should have an emergency plan to provide for basic needs (food, water, shelter, sanitation, etc.) for 72 to 96 hours. Consult the following resources to prepare for a damaging earthquake:
During an earthquake
- Immediately move away from windows, glass, large moveable displays or hanging objects.
- Drop, cover and hold under or against a solid desk, bureau or similar structure.
- Do not take cover under stairwells.
- Cover head and face and hold on to a solid structure.
- Prepare for one or more aftershocks.
- Evacuate the building.
- When outside, stay away from buildings, power lines, light poles or other objects that might present a hazard.
- Do not re-enter the building unless told it is safe to do so by first responders or building inspectors.
In the immediate aftermath of a damaging earthquake
Be aware of the potential for falling glass or debris, compromised structures, downed power lines and contaminated water resulting from earthquakes:
- Always avoid windows and breaking glass.
- Always prepare for aftershocks.
- If possible, boil water after major earthquakes that damage infrastructure.
- In the immediate aftermath of a damaging quake, self-evacuate from the coast to areas of higher ground.