Earthquake Safety: Protecting Yourself & Your Child

On the third Thursday of each October, millions of Californians participate in a statewide earthquake drill called The Great California Shakeout.

This drill serves as an annual reminder of best practices for earthquake safety, as well as a reminder to check emergency supplies. Because earthquakes come without warning, it’s especially important to be prepared no matter where you are.

Always remember to “Drop, Cover and Hold On” during an earthquake. Drop to the floor; cover your head and neck and seek cover under a table; and hold on.

An emergency kit is an important part of an earthquake preparedness plan. Having these items on hand can help you and your family stay safe:

  • Flashlight
  • Food and water for five days. Don’t forget your pet food!
  • Small tools
  • Radio
  • Batteries
  • Extra set of clothes

The biggest myth regarding earthquake safety is to seek protection in a doorway.  It turns out that doorways are not any stronger than other structures of modern homes, and these spaces don’t protect against falling or flying objects, the most likely injury sustained in an earthquake.

Earthquake safety experts remind parents to head these tips to protect themselves and children in their home in the event of an earthquake:

  • Tall bookcases or display cabinets should be securely attached to the wall.
  • Don’t display anything heavy or breakable on the wall above beds. These can fall during an earthquake, causing head injury or cuts from broken glass.
  • Keep a pair of shoes near your bed. Going barefoot could mean cutting your feet on shattered glass.
  • Make sure your emergency kit is complete and stocked.
  • Have the name and telephone number of someone out of state. Extended family members can contact this central person, freeing up your time and phone.

Parents should be aware of their child’s school’s action plan. For instance, if parents are stuck at work, how long will their child’s school keep students on campus? It’s important to be aware of the safety plans in each space you and your family regularly occupy.

For more tips about preparation and what to do during and after an earthquake, download this safety checklist.

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