It isn’t a matter of IF, but WHEN

Be Prepared for the Big One

Knowing what to do could save your life




Earthquakes happen without warning. You need to know what to do when the next one strikes. The minute the ground starts to shake, you should:
  • DROP to the ground
  • COVER your head and the back of your neck, or
  • take COVER beneath a sturdy piece of furniture like a desk, and
  • HOLD ON to that piece of furniture until the shaking stops
Practice makes perfect; practice makes permanent. Make sure to practice DROP, COVER, and HOLD ON once a month with your family and classmates or colleagues.

NOTE: If you or someone you know has a disability that may prevent them from getting under a desk or table, share this important PDF document that explains what to do if you are managing a disability. Developed by the Earthquake Country Alliance, the information it provides is priceless.

It isn’t a matter of “IF”, but “WHEN.”

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) estimates that Southern California has a 99.7% chance of experiencing a large, destructive earthquake in the next 30 years. 99.7%. The odds for central and northern California may be slightly less, but still hover around 97%. It’s hard to get more likely than that.

Geologists have identified many dozens of dangerous fault lines that are either new, or haven’t been active for many years. Many of these faults are capable of producing widespread damage if they rupture. And these are only the faults we know about. As an example, in 1994 when the Northridge Earthquake struck Los Angeles, killing at 57 people, and injuring another 8,700, it occurred on a fault scientists didn’t even know existed.

When the southern end of the region’s largest fault, the San Andreas, ruptures (and it is more than 160 years overdue for just such an “adjustment”) experts predict there will be over 1,700 fires in Southern California within minutes. If a 6.6 magnitude earthquake were to strike in a large city, there is concern the entire area would be destroyed by fire. When this happens, the fire department and other life saving agencies will be overwhelmed. They’ll have no choice but to respond to the largest, most crucial emergency calls, which means the vast majority of us will only have ourselves and each other to rely upon.


Dr. Lucy Jones, recently retired from the USGS, and many other experts, say many communities within the State of California aren’t ready for a major earthquake. As just one example, should a major quake strike the City of Los Angeles, it could:

  • Impact as many as 10 million people
  • Injure of kill as many as 11,000 people
  • Cause $20 billion in damages
  • Effect major infrastructures for months, including water, power, Internet, and telephone
The County and City of Riverside are very close to the southern end of the San Andreas fault as well, and as such, can expect significant damage and threat to life when the “big one” strikes. As Dr. Jones says, “everyone needs to store more water, and they need to learn how to use a fire extinguisher.”

Are you prepared in the event of a significant earthquake?

Do you have a minimum of three days of supplies?

Have you practiced what you’d do when a major earthquake occurs?

MySafe:Riverside is here to help. For additional information, or to schedule a visit to your school, church, or civic organization, please contact us.

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