Earthquakes

EARTHQUAKES

Drop, Cover and Hold on logo

Do you know what to do you if you feel the earth start to shake? For many the thought of what to do only happens once the earth begins shaking. Here you'll find helpful information that will help you know what the right actions are during an earthquake. By preparing an emergency plan and an emergency kit you're family will be more resilient after the shaking has stopped.

 

Your preparation for earthquake should including downloading the free MyShake app onto your smartphone. The MyShake app uses an array of sensors to detect the early signs of an earthquake to send notifications with the goal of giving people just enough time to get to safety and brake for a coming earthquake. In addition, you should also enroll in Alert RivCo (RivCoReady.org/AlertRivCo), an important part of the Alert and Warning system used by public safety agencies in Riverside County.

 

When an earthquake happens remember these three simple instructions: Drop, Cover and Hold on!

 

 

 

 

Below are a few additional tips to keep you safe.

 

INDOORS

If you are indoors, stay there. Get under and hold onto a desk or table, or stand against an interior wall. Stay clear of exterior walls, glass, heavy furniture, fireplaces and appliances. The kitchen can be a particularly dangerous spot with glassware and other breakables that can create hazards. If you are in an office building, stay away from windows and outside walls and do not use the elevator. Check for fire or fire hazards. If you smell gas, shut off the main gas valve. If there's evidence of damage to electrical wiring, shut off the power at the control box.

 

OUTSIDE

If you are outside, stay outside, and stay away from buildings utility wires, sinkholes, and fuel and gas lines.

 

The area near the exterior walls of a building is the most dangerous place to be. Windows, fireplace brickwork, facades and architectural details are often the first parts of the building to collapse. Also, shaking can be so strong that you will not be able to move far without falling down, and objects may fall or be thrown at you. Stay away from this danger zone--stay inside if you are inside and outside if you are outside.

 

Once you are in the open, get down low (to avoid being knocked down by strong shaking) and stay there until the shaking stops.

 

AUTOMOBILES

If you are in a moving automobile, stop as quickly and safely as possible. Move your car to the shoulder or curb, away from utility poles, overhead wires, and under- or overpasses. Stay in the car and set the parking brake. Turn on the radio for emergency broadcast information. A car may jiggle violently on its springs, but it is a good place to stay until the shaking stops. If a power line falls on the car, stay inside until a trained person removes the wire.

While driving after an earthquake, watch for hazards such as breaks in the pavement, downed utility poles and wires, rising water levels, fallen overpasses and collapsed bridges.

 

Specific situations…

It is important to think about what you will do to protect yourself, wherever you are, when the earth begins to shake. What if you are driving, in a theater, in bed, at the beach, etc.?

 

Persons with Disabilities: See EarthquakeCountry.org/disability for recommendations for people who use wheelchairs, walkers, or who are unable to drop to the ground and get up again without assistance.

 

Indoors: Drop, Cover, and Hold On. Avoid exterior walls, windows, hanging objects, mirrors, tall furniture, large appliances, and kitchen cabinets with heavy objects or glass. However, do not try to move more than 5-7 feet before getting on the ground. Do not go outside during shaking! The area near the exterior walls of a building is the most dangerous place to be. Windows, facades, and architectural details are often the first parts of the building to break away. If you’re seated and unable to drop to the floor: bend forward, Cover your head with your arms, and Hold On to your neck with both hands.

 

In bed: Do not get out of bed. Lie face down to protect your vital organs, and Cover your head and neck with a pillow, keeping your arms as close to your head as possible. Hold On to your head and neck with both hands until shaking stops. You are less likely to be injured by fallen and broken objects by staying where you are.

 

In a high-rise: Drop, Cover, and Hold On. Avoid windows and other hazards. Do not use elevators. Do not be surprised if sprinkler systems or fire alarms activate.

 

In a classroom: Drop, Cover, and Hold On. Laboratories or other settings may require special considerations to ensure safety. Students should also be taught what to do at home or other locations.

 

In a store: Drop, Cover, and Hold On. Getting next to a shopping cart, beneath clothing racks, or within the first level of warehouse racks may provide extra protection. For more details, download a simple PDF fact sheet about Earthquake Safety in Stores.

 

Outdoors: Move to a clear area if you can safely do so. Avoid power lines, trees, signs, buildings, vehicles, and other hazards. Then, Drop, Cover, and Hold On. This protects you from any objects that may be thrown from the side, even if nothing is directly above you.

 

Driving: Pull over to the side of the road, stop, and set the parking brake. Avoid overpasses, bridges, power lines, signs and other hazards. Stay inside the vehicle until the shaking stops, then proceed carefully by avoiding fallen debris, cracked or shifted pavement, and emergency vehicles. If a power line falls on the car, stay inside until a trained person removes the wire.

 

In a stadium or theater: Drop to the ground in front of your seat or lean over as much as possible, then Cover your head with your arms (as best as possible), and Hold On to your neck with both hands until the shaking stops. Then walk out slowly, watching for anything that could fall during aftershocks.

 

Near the shore: Follow the instructions above for your particular location. Then as soon as shaking reduces such that you are able to stand, walk quickly to high ground or inland, as a tsunami may arrive soon. Don’t wait for officials to issue a warning. Walk, rather than drive, to avoid traffic, debris, and other hazards.

 

Below a dam: Follow the instructions above for your particular location. Dams can fail during a major earthquake. Catastrophic failure is unlikely, but if you live downstream from a dam, you should know flood-zone information and have prepared an evacuation plan for getting to high ground.

RESOURCES

California Department of Conservation: What to do in an Earthquake
California Office of Emergency Services: Earthquake Preparedness
The Great California ShakeOut
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Earthquakes