1 minute readHealth & Safety
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Drop, Cover, and Hold On & Other Easy Ways You Can Be Earthquake Ready

This week marks the 27th anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake, the devastating 1989 earthquake that rocked the San Francisco Bay Area. This week also marks the 8th annual Great ShakeOut earthquake drill, an event inspired by the Loma Prieta quake and started in California, and which has evolved into the world’s largest earthquake preparedness exercise. Set to take place this Thursday, October 20, at 10:20 AM (PST), more than 52 million people worldwide have registered to Drop, Cover, and Hold On in a pledge to be prepared for when, not if, the next earthquake will occur.


When we think of earthquakes, many people often dismiss the threats as something that only happens in California. And even some Californians grow complacent to the risks when a quake doesn’t occur for several years. But as we’ve seen many times in California, Washington, Japan, Nepal, Chile, and even in states such as Virginia, Oklahoma and Texas, earthquakes can occur almost anywhere without warning. Earthquake safety is something for all to consider and take meaningful action to be prepared.

Easy and Practical Steps to Get Prepared

There are a number of things that you can do to help make sure you, your loved ones, and your property are prepared in the event of an earthquake. And many of those things are not very hard to do. Some of the more practical steps you can take right now include:

  • Keep a flashlight and sturdy shoes by each person’s bed in case the earthquake strikes in the middle of the night.
  • Hang heavy items, such as pictures and mirrors, away from beds, couches and anywhere people sleep or sit.
  • Install strong latches or bolts on cabinets. Large or heavy items should be closest to the floor.
  • Bolt and brace water heaters and gas appliances, bookcases, china cabinets and other tall furniture to wall studs.
  • Pick safe places in each room of your home, workplace and/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.

Resources to Move You Down the Path to Preparedness

These tips and many others are available on our website here. You will also find some great info and other resources by downloading the FREE Red Cross Emergency App to your mobile device.

You can also find a wealth of info from earthquake experts, such as these Seven Steps to Earthquake Safety from the Earthquake Country Alliance, which will help you to be ready before, during, and after an earthquake.

But one of the fastest, easiest, and fun things you can do right now to get yourself in the quake preparedness mood is visit ShakeOut.org to register to take part in this week’s ShakeOut drill.

Earthquake preparedness is something everyone needs to think about, but it’s not something that needs to be a bummer. You can have fun with it, too!