Earthquakes

Earthquake Q&A: What to Do Before, During and After the Shaking

Here are some tips and reminders to keep in mind no matter where you are when the shaking starts.

56178633
Getty Images

Californians will drop, cover and hold on during a statewide earthquake preparedness drill, now in its 13th year.

The Great California ShakeOut of 2021 is scheduled for 10:21 a.m.

Below, you'll find a Q&A with Chief Sam DiGiovanna of the Verdugo Fire Academy in Glendale.

Photos: What to Keep in Your Disaster Emergency Kit

What should we do before an earthquake?

Be prepared for up to 72 hours with food, water, and supplies. Flashlight, batteries, radio and first aid kit. Learn how to turn off/control the gas, water, and electricity. Make up a plan of where to meet your family and neighbors after an earthquake.

Just like EDITH (Exit Drills In The Home), practice with your family and neighbors. Train as if your life depends on it – because it does. Remember, the most emergency preparedness kits are sold after an earthquake. Now is the time to prepare! Do not forget about the elderly & pets!

If I am in bed and an earthquake strikes, what do I do?

Duck, cover and hold. Put your pillow over your head and wait until the shaking stops. Have a flashlight near your bed because power may be out.

What if I am at home, at work or is a store. What should I do?

Stay calm.. If you are indoors, stay inside. If you are outside, stay outside. If you are indoors, stand against a wall near the center of the building. Stay away from windows. If you are outdoors, stay in the open away from power lines or anything that might fall.

Many of us spend a lot of time of time in our cars. What if I’m driving?

If you are in a car, stop the car and stay inside the car until the earthquake stops. Have an emergency kit in your car along with sturdy shoes in the event you may have to walk. Watch out for powerlines or objects that can fall.

What should I do when the shaking stops?

Check yourself and others for injuries. Provide first aid for anyone who needs it. Check water, gas, and electric lines for damage. Do not touch any downed lines! If you smell gas, evacuate immediately. Do not turn off the gas unless you smell it. Be careful around broken glass and debris. Expect aftershocks.

Sam DiGiovanna is a 35-year fire service veteran. He started with the Los Angeles County Fire Department, served as Fire Chief at the Monrovia Fire Department and currently serves as Chief at the Verdugo Fire Academy in Glendale.

Contact Us