Earthquakes are sudden rolling or shaking events caused by movement under the earth’s surface. Earthquakes happen along cracks in the earth's surface, called fault lines, and can be felt over large areas, although they usually last less than one minute. Earthquakes cannot be predicted — although scientists are working on it!
All 50 states and 5 U.S. territories are at some risk for earthquakes. Earthquakes can happen at any time of the year. For more information on what happens before, during and after an earthquake, please visit the Ready.gov website.
Baby's First Earthquake
Make Baby’s First Earthquake kit. Fill a baby bag or backpack with all the supplies your little one will need after an earthquake strikes. Not just water and food, but special things to make your baby happy like a cherished toy or favorite blanket. Your baby will be happier for it, and so will you.
Some of the items you will need:
- Bottled Water
- Formula & Baby Food
- Pacifier & Teething Ring
- Diaper Rash & Antibiotic Creams
- Baby's First Aid
- Warm Clothes
- Favorite Toy
- Baby Carrier
- Small blanket
- Bandana or Hankie
- Headlamp or flashing LED
- Large Heavy Duty Trash Bag
For more info on Baby's First Earthquake, please visit the totally unprepared website.
Home Earthquake Kit
Having essentials on hand will make you less reliant on post-quake emergency services that may not be easily available. It will also mean you can stay in your home instead of seeking food, water and first aid out in the world.
You can buy a pre-packed earthquake kit online or at your local hardware store, or you can make a home earthquake kit yourself.
Get yourself a new trash can with a waterproof lid, or a sealable waterproof storage box to keep in your garage, basement or closet, and put in it things you will absolutely need in your home after an earthquake.
Some of the Essential items are:
- Canned foods
- Manual can opener
- Portable Radio
- Dust mask
- Emergency cash in small bills
- Wrenches to turn off gas and water supplies
- First aid kit
- Copies of vital documents such as insurance policies, medical consent forms and emergency contacts, doctor's names, prescription lists, personal ID all stored in a water-resistant folder
For more information on creating your own earthquake preparedness kit, please visit the Totally Unprepared website.
Emergency Wallet Cards
Make your own emergency card and be sure to include:
- Your name (or the name of whoever the card is for)
- A reliable out of state emergency contact, with phone number and email address
(like your grandma, or your best friend, not like your buddy from college who keeps losing his phone in cabs)
- A local emergency contact with phone number and email address,
(see above, unless all you have are friends who lose their cell phones in taxis)
- The chosen local family meetup site
- The chosen out-of-area family meetup site
- Your workplace evacuation site
- Your school evacuation site
Make one of these cards for each member of your family. Include a picture of your family with each of your kid’s wallet cards.
Use the template that Red Cross provides. Template
Pet Go Bag
Your furry, or slimy, or scaly, or feathered friends are counting on you to provide for them when an earthquake strikes. Most of the items you need to make a pet earthquake kit are things you already have in your home.
Simply collect them in a safe place so you can find them easily after an earthquake.
A pet carrier and vaccination records are essential if you find you and/or your pet must go to an emergency shelter. Only pets with valid vaccination records are accepted in shelters.
Some of the Essentials:
- Bag to keep supplies in
- Leash or pet restraint
- Food for three days for your pet
- Water for three days for your pet
- Copy of vaccination records
- Treats for calming and behavior modification
- Pet carrier
- A pet toy
- Pet booties or shoes to protect paws
- Collapsible food and water bowl
- Muzzle or harness as needed.
For more information on pets during an emergency, please visit the Totally Unprepared website.
PG&E Earthquake Considerations
There are many things you can do to enhance safety for you, your family and your home in the event of a major earthquake or disaster. The most important is to take steps before any emergency by identifying potential risks, taking the appropriate actions to minimize those risks, and establishing plans to assure that you are prepared—just in case.
The following tips can help you prepare for an emergency and respond safely to an earthquake.
- Have your building and appliances inspected to assure that they are able to withstand a significant earthquake.
- Know the location of your gas service shutoff valve, and how to shut off your gas supply
- Most gas appliances have a shutoff valve located near the appliance that lets you turn off the gas to that appliance only. Know which of your appliances uses gas, and where the appliance shutoff valves are located. In some cases, turning off the gas at the appliances shutoff valve will suffice.
- Know the location of the main electric switch and how to turn off your electric supply.
For information on what to do during and after an earthquake, please visit the PG&E website.