Earthquake Preparedness

With Southern California deeply seated in “earthquake country,” the Los Angeles County Fire Department urges you and your family to always be prepared.
Here are a few tips on how to stay safe and prepared for the aftermath of a
major earthquake.


If an Earthquake Hits…

  • Drop, Cover and Hold. No matter where you are, take cover under a sturdy desk, table or other furniture and hold on to it until the shaking stops. Avoid danger spots near windows, hanging objects, mirrors or tall furniture. Conduct earthquake drills every six months with your family.
  • Keep Your Hallway Clear. It is one of the safest places to be during an earthquake.
  • Learn How to Shut Off Utilities. Locate and learn how to shut off valves for water, gas and electricity.
  • Prepare to Be Self-Sufficient. In a major disaster, emergency personnel will be inundated and may not be available to you for at least 72 hours or longer. Keep a supply of water, food, medications and clothing on hand.
  • Keep an Earthquake Supply Kit. Put together an earthquake supply kit with essentials, such as blankets, first aid kit, fire extinguisher, extra
    cash and change, portable radio and other supplies for cooking, sanitation and comfort.

Drop, Cover and Hold

  • Drop down onto your hands and knees. This position protects you from falling but still allows you to move, if necessary.
  • Cover your head and neck under a sturdy desk or table.
  • Hold on to your shelter until the shaking stops. Be prepared to move along with your shelter, if the shaking shifts it around.

After the Shaking…

  • Be prepared for aftershocks.
  • Check for injuries and give first aid to those who are injured.
  • Check for fires and hazards.
  • Wear closed-toe shoes, if near debris.
  • Check for damaged utilities.
    » Do not turn off gas unless you see or smell a leak.
    » Do not use candles or matches as they may ignite a fire.
  • Turn on a portable or car radio for emergency bulletins and instructions/information.
  • Do not use cell phones or landlines unless it is for a medical, fire or public safety emergency.
  • Clean up spilled medicine, flammable liquids, bleaches and chemicals.
  • Check house, roof and chimney, if it is safe to do so.
  • Carefully open closets and cupboards as objects have probably shifted.
  • Do not use your vehicle, except for an emergency. Keep streets clear for emergency vehicles.
  • Do not touch or go near downed power lines.
  • Stay out of damaged buildings until they have been deemed safe.

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Earthquake Preparedness