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October 2017 Feature of the Month: How to Prepare for an Earthquake!

Santa Cruz County is a place of great beauty and scenic diversity that evokes a sense of pride from residents and attracts visitors from around the world. We who live here know how breathtaking the area can be. But like everywhere in California, Santa Cruz County is also earthquake country. Understanding the risks and preparing to survive and recover can help keep you, your family, and your community safe.

Staying Safe Where the Earth Shakes: Central Coast Edition

Most people in the Central Coast area live within 15 miles of a fault that can have a
damaging earthquake. The most frequent large earthquakes that affect the region occur along
the San Andreas Fault. The San Gregorio Fault follows the coast, usually just offshore. 
Numerous other faults are capable of having moderate magnitude (but still damaging)
earthquakes similar to the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, which greatly impacted
Santa Cruz County.

Life after a Big Quake

Earthquakes may disrupt services like electricity, water, and sewer, and may limit access in and
out of the region. Fire and police departments will be dealing with the most serious situations
and may be unable to respond quickly to issues in your community. Government assistance
may not be available or may not be enough to replace your damaged belongings or repair your home.

Good News: Preparing now will give you confidence that you and your family will stay safe
where the earth shakes.

The Seven Steps to Earthquake Safety

Click here to see all of the steps on one page or click on each step for detailed information and resources on each step.


1. Secure Your Space
From water heaters to windows, and everything in between, identify hazards and secure moveable items.

2. Plan to Be Safe
Create a disaster plan and decide how you will communicate in an emergency.

3. Organize Disaster Supplies
Have personal disaster supplies kits at home, at work, and in your vehicle, and have a household disaster supplies kit in an easily accessible location at home.

4. Minimize Financial Hardship
Organize important documents, strengthen your property, and consider insurance.


5. Drop, Cover, and Hold On
Learn and practice what to do during an earthquake, whether at home, work, school, or traveling.

6. Improve Safety
Evacuate if necessary after an earthquake, help the injured, and prevent further injuries or damage.


7. Reconnect and Recover
Restore daily life by reconnecting with others, repairing damage, and rebuilding community.

Join family, friends, and colleagues on October 19, 2017 at 10:19 a.m. when more than 63,000 individuals, schools, colleges and universities, healthcare facilities, senior facilities, and other organizations in Santa Cruz County will practice the “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” method of self-protection during Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills.

Participating is a great way for your family or organization to be prepared to survive and recover quickly from big earthquakes. Click here to be included in the 2017 Great California Shakeout!

  • Be counted
  • Be listed with other participants in our County (optional)
  • Help motivate others to participate and prepare
  • Have peace of mind that you, your family, and your co-workers will be better prepared to survive and recover quickly from our next big earthquake

OFFICIAL RESCUE TEAMS from the U.S. and other countries who have searched for trapped people in collapsed structures around the world, as well as emergency managers, researchers, and school safety advocates, all agree that “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” is the appropriate action to reduce injury and death during earthquakes.

(Note: Methods like standing in a doorway, running outside, and “triangle of life” are considered dangerous and are not recommended.)

Do you know how to make your home a safe space? Play the “Beat the Quake” preparedness game and find out!

Read, watch, and learn more

The Great California ShakeOut

Earthquake Country Alliance

Earthquake Safety Video Series

Great California ShakeOut YouTube Channel

Earthquake Drill (English & Spanish)



Get the whole family involved! Click the images below for resources and information.

Resources in other languages