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.

Related articles:

  • Helping Children Cope with Tragedy
    It’s hard for grownups to make sense of a tragedy, so consider how difficult it must be for children. Depending on their age and media exposure, children may know more than ...
  • Wildfire Safety Tips Every Family Should Know
    A red flag fire warning was issued today across Southern California including Riverside County mountains and San Diego County mountains, among other areas. The warning signaled strong winds and low ...
  • Earthquake Preparedness Tips For Your Family
    It’s Earthquake Preparedness Month. To help keep you and your family safe during an earthquake, check out these important guidelines. Be sure to talk to your kids about the importance ...

Earthquake Preparedness Tips For Your Family

It’s Earthquake Preparedness Month. To help keep you and your family safe during an earthquake, check out these important guidelines. Be sure to talk to your kids about the importance of being prepared for this, and other emergency situations.

 Have a safety checklist to make sure you’re prepared:

• Become aware of fire evacuation and earthquake plans for all of the buildings you occupy regularly.

• Pick safe places in each room of your home, workplace or school. A safe place could be under a piece of furniture or against an interior wall away from windows, bookcases or tall furniture that could fall on you.

• Practice drop, cover and hold on in each safe place. If you don’t have sturdy furniture to hold on to, sit on the floor next to an interior wall and cover your head and neck with your arms.

• Bolt and brace water heaters and gas appliances, as well as bookcases, china cabinets and other tall furniture, to wall studs.

• Hang heavy items such as pictures and mirrors away from beds, couches and anywhere people sit or sleep.

• Learn how to shut off gas valves in your home and keep a wrench handy for that purpose.

• Keep an emergency supplies kit in an easy-to-access location. In addition, keep a flashlight and sturdy shoes by each person’s bed.

During an earthquake:

• Drop, cover and hold on.

• Stay away from windows to avoid being injured by shattered glass.

• Stay indoors until the shaking stops and you are sure it is safe to exit. If you must leave the building after the shaking stops, use stairs rather than an elevator in case there are aftershocks, power outages or other damage.

• If you are outside when the shaking starts, find a clear spot and drop to the ground. Stay there until the shaking stops (away from buildings, power lines, trees, streetlights).

• If you are in a vehicle, pull over to a clear location and stop. Stay inside with your seatbelt fastened until the shaking stops. Then, drive carefully, avoiding bridges and ramps that may have been damaged.

After an earthquake:

• After an earthquake, the disaster may continue. Expect and prepare for potential aftershocks, landslides or even a tsunami.

• Check yourself for injuries and get first aid, if necessary, before helping injured or trapped persons.

• Look quickly for damage in and around your home and get everyone out if your home is unsafe.

• Listen to a portable, battery-operated or hand-crank radio for updated information and instructions.

• Look for and extinguish small fires. Fire is the most common hazard after an earthquake.

• Help people who require special assistance, such as infants, children and the elderly or disabled.

• Watch out for fallen power lines or broken gas lines and stay out of damaged areas.

• Keep animals under your direct control.

• If you were away from home, return only when authorities say it is safe to do so.

For more information on emergency preparedness, visit www.redcross.org.

Related articles:

  • Helping Children Cope with Tragedy
    It’s hard for grownups to make sense of a tragedy, so consider how difficult it must be for children. Depending on their age and media exposure, children may know more than ...
  • Wildfire Safety Tips Every Family Should Know
    A red flag fire warning was issued today across Southern California including Riverside County mountains and San Diego County mountains, among other areas. The warning signaled strong winds and low ...
  • CHOC Recommends Talking With Your Kids About Natural Disasters
    As Japan continues to recover from an alarming, 9.0-magnitude earthquake last month, it faced yet another 7.1 aftershock today. While many adults in the U.S. may be wondering what the risks ...

CHOC Recommends Talking With Your Kids About Natural Disasters

As Japan continues to recover from an alarming, 9.0-magnitude earthquake last month, it faced yet another 7.1 aftershock today. While many adults in the U.S. may be wondering what the risks are to people here, children may also have their own concerns or fears.

CHOC Children’s recommends that you talk openly with your children about what they’ve heard and how they feel, and answer their questions honestly and in an age-appropriate manner. Assure them about their safety and let them know that your family and community have plans in place should a natural disaster like this ever happen.

In addition, teach your children easy tips for any emergency such as, how to call for help; when to use emergency numbers; who to contact if the family is separated; and where your disaster kit or supplies are stored.

For more tips recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, please click here:
http://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-home/pages/Getting-Your-Family-Prepared-for-a-Disaster.aspx