An earthquake is the sudden shaking of the earth, caused by the breaking and shifting of underground rock. Earthquakes can cause buildings to collapse and heavy items to fall, resulting in injuries and property damage. Earthquakes can:

  • Happen without warning
  • Damage roads
  • Cause tsunami and landslides

Seven steps to earthquake safety

As Californians, we live in earthquake country. Almost everyone in the state lives within 15 miles of an active fault capable of creating earthquakes. To protect your family, home, or business, follow the seven steps to earthquake safety, before, during and after.

Step 1: Secure your Space
Step 2: Plan to Be Safe
Step 3: Create a Disaster Supply Kit
  • Use this supply list to create your kit.
  • Store your kit in a convenient location and make sure all family members know where it is.
Step 4: Minimize Financial Hardship
  • Keep identification, insurance cards, and contact phone numbers in a “Grab and Go” bag.
  • Contact your insurance agent and ask about earthquake insurance. It is typically not part of your homeowner’s insurance policy.
Step 5: Drop, Cover, and Hold On 
  • During an earthquake, drop where you are onto your hands and knees
  • Cover your head and neck with one arm and hand
  • Crawl underneath a sturdy desk or table
  • If no shelter is nearby, crawl next to an interior wall away from windows
  • If you are outside, drop then crawl towards open space if you can-stay away from buildings, power lines, and trees
  • Brace yourself until shaking stops
Step 6: Improve Safety 
  • After the shaking stops check for injuries and damages.
  • Evacuate only if there is damage to the building.
  • Prepare for aftershocks and stay away from anything that looks like it may fall.
  • Shut off the gas if you smell or hear a gas leak.
  • Check on your neighbors and help those in need.
  • Use your NOAA Weather Radio to listen to local stations for emergency information.
Step 7: Reconnect and Recover 

When the earth shakes video

Downloadable Earthquake Preparedness Fact Sheet

Earthquake preparedness resources