How To Prepare For Future Earthquakes In California

Matt Lillywhite
Photo byIStockPhoto

A few days ago, a 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck California. Buildings were damaged, thousands of homes lost power, and seventeen people were injured in Humboldt County. Since millions of people live in California, residents should know how to stay safe during an earthquake.

As you can see from the map below, California is one of the most earthquake-prone states in the country:

How To Prepare For A Future Earthquake In California

The US Geological Survey recommends keeping the following emergency supplies at home:

  • First-aid kit.
  • Fire extinguisher.
  • Portable radio with extra batteries
  • Flashlights with extra bulbs and batteries
  • Waterproof, heavy-duty plastic bags for waste disposal.
  • Adequate supplies of prescription medications and painkillers.
  • Crescent and pipe wrenches to turn off gas and water supplies.
  • Water and food for each family member for at least two weeks.
  • Camp stove or barbecue to cook outdoors (store fuel out of the reach of children).

It's a good idea to secure heavy furniture and light fixtures, so they don't fall down and injure anyone during an earthquake. And if you sleep with heavy objects over your head, consider moving them somewhere else (as they could fall during heavy shaking).

How To Stay Safe During An Earthquake In California

Remember that earthquakes can happen at any time of day.

If you notice the ground shaking, drop, cover, and hold on. It's also worth moving away from windows and any outside walls. Ideally, you should also be able to hold onto a sturdy object that can protect your head and stomach from falling debris. For example, a strong table or desk.

If you're outside when an earthquake occurs in California, get away from anything that might injure you. For example, trees, power lines, and anything else that might fall. If possible, find a grassy park full of open space because there won't be many objects there that can fall during an earthquake.

Pay Attention To The Early Warning System

"Earthquake Warning California is the country’s first publicly available, statewide warning system that could give California residents crucial seconds to take cover before you feel shaking," per the government website of California. "Managed by the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES), Earthquake Warning California uses ground motion sensors from across the state to detect earthquakes before humans can feel them and can notify Californians to Drop, Cover and Hold On in advance of an earthquake."

The California government recommends downloading the MyShake App. It's a free application (on IOS & Android) that provides audio and visual warnings for earthquakes magnitude 4.5 or higher.

What do you think? Leave a comment with your thoughts. And if you think more people should read this article, share it on social media.

Comments / 8

Published by

Matt Lillywhite publishes national news and local stories. He can be reached via email at


More from Matt Lillywhite

Comments / 0