Earthquake Preparedness

Steps to Take Before, During & After an Earthquake
Earthquakes are an inevitable, natural event - often catastrophic. The question you must ask is “As a resident of Riverside County, am I ready to live for 3 weeks to 6 months without basic necessities?”
What will you do without food, electricity, landline or cell phone service, no clean water or sewage system? Even worse, no paycheck because you cannot get to work because of impassible or heavily damaged roads and freeways. The list goes on and on. The time to prepare is not next week or next month; why not be prepared now?
California Earthquake Graphic
Readiness is more than having a Firefighter, Paramedic or Deputy Sheriff at your door. Readiness is about public agencies and residents coming together to weather any catastrophic event. In California, it’s not if we have a major earthquake... it’s when. A catastrophic earthquake can occur at any time in Southern California.

Below are some basic, but vital steps you can take to prepare for a major or catastrophic earthquake.

Reduce Hazards
Reduce hazards in your home, workplace or school. By identifying repairing or removing these hazards, you are reducing the risk of injury or death by securing televisions, shelves, bookcases, computers, heavy mirrors/pictures, water heaters, etc. Don’t forget the outside area of your house! Check for vulnerable water and gas pipes, unreinforced walls, cracked foundations and other hazards outside of the home. Do you or your family members know where the gas meter and water main are located? Do they know how to shut them off in the event of a gas leak or water main break?

Create a Family Disaster Plan
Remember that disaster kit you were planning on making but you just haven’t had the time to do it? A disaster kit for you and your family is one of the single most important survival items you can have. Visit for tips on how to build your own disaster kit to sustain you and your family for 14-21 days following a major disaster. Don’t forget about your pets! Food, medication and special needs should be taken into consideration when preparing your disaster kit.

The Riverside County Early Warning Notification System (EWNS) is a communication tool activated by designated public safety agencies only when there is a potential risk or imminent threat to life and/or property. The system is designed to provide detailed messages to Riverside County residents in the event of a major or catastrophic disaster. Riverside County residents with listed and unlisted phone service through common carriers are already in the County’s EWNS database and are programmed to receive notifications. In addition to your home phone, residents are permitted to add up to three cell phone numbers and your internet/cable phone. Visit the County of Riverside website and look for the Riverside County Early Warning Notification System link in the News and Highlights section and sign up for this free emergency notification service. Do you have an out-of-state friend or relative designated as a point of contact after a major earthquake? Do all of your family members have their number?

Indoors & Outdoors
During an earthquake indoors - Drop, cover, and hold on! Take cover under a sturdy desk or table, and hold on to it firmly. Be prepared to move with it until the shaking stops.

During an earthquake outdoors - Move to a clear area if you can safely do so; avoid power lines, trees, signs, buildings, vehicles and other hazards

After the Shaking Stops
Check for injuries. Check for Damage. Not trained in these areas? The Community Emergency Response Team program (CERT) provides training to citizens, neighborhoods and community groups to assess post-disaster damage, administer first aid and report findings to their City or County Government Emergency Operations Centers (EOC’s).

Following a major disaster, once you have met your family's immediate needs after an earthquake continue to follow the plan you prepared in advance. Stay informed on safety messages regarding damage, hazards, relief efforts and other vital information.

Safety Tips & Disaster Planning Information
The Riverside County Fire Department and Office of Emergency Services publish a multitude of useful safety tips and disaster planning information. We urge you to take advantage of the many disaster preparedness resources offered, or contact the Riverside County Office of Emergency Services at 951-955-4700.

Take the steps to keep you and your family safe by preparing now - it’s that simple.