Big Bear City, CA, October 14, 2013 – If planning for an earthquake is still on your list of things to do, let the Great California ShakeOut Drill be your wake-up call. Over 9 million Californians have registered at to practice the annual “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” drill on October 17 at 10:17 a.m. In the meantime, there are some steps you can take now to increase your chances of surviving and recovering from a major earthquake.

Check for hazards in your home

  • Fasten shelves securely to walls.
  • Place large or heavy objects on lower shelves.
  • Store breakable items such as bottled foods, glass, and china in low, closed cabinets with latches.
  • Hang heavy items such as pictures and mirrors away from beds, couches, and anywhere people sit.
  • Brace overhead light fixtures.

Plan now for what to do during an earthquake

  • Practice “Drop, Cover, and Hold On.”
  • Identify safe spots in every room, such as under sturdy desks and tables, against an inside wall, and away from glass that could shatter around windows, mirrors, pictures, or where heavy bookcases or other heavy furniture could fall over. Standing inside a doorway is no longer recommended.
  • Learn how to protect yourself no matter where you are when an earthquake strikes — at work, on the road, etc.
  • Stay inside. The most dangerous thing to do during the shaking is to try to leave the building because objects can fall on you. If you’re already outside when an earthquake strikes, you’ll want to stay away from buildings, trees, street lights, and telephone/power lines — and stay outside until the shaking stops.

Plan how to respond after an earthquake

  • Keep shoes and a working flashlight with extra batteries next to each bed. Other disaster supplies include a portable, battery-operated radio, emergency food and water, and a first aid kit.
  • Get a fire extinguisher for your home.
  • Teach everyone in your household to use emergency whistles and/or to knock three times repeatedly if trapped.
  • Identify the needs of household members and neighbors with special requirements or situations.
  • Take a Red Cross first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training course.
  • Know the location of utility shutoffs and keep needed tools nearby.
  • Install smoke alarms and test them monthly.
  • Work with your neighbors to identify who has skills and resources that will be useful in an emergency, and who may need special attention (children, elderly, disabled, etc.).

Plan how to communicate and recover after an earthquake

  • Designate one out-of-area person who can be called by everyone in the household to relay information.
  • Provide all family members with a list of important contact phone numbers.
  • Determine where you might live if your home cannot be occupied after an earthquake.
  • Know about the earthquake plan developed by your children’s school or day care. Keep your children’s school emergency release card current.
  • In case family members are separated from one another during an earthquake (a real possibility during the day when adults are at work and children are at school), develop a plan for reuniting after the disaster.
  • Keep copies of essential documents, such as identification, insurance policies, and financial records, in a secure, waterproof container, and keep with your disaster supplies kits.

Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills are coordinated worldwide by the Southern California Earthquake Center with a broad network of local ShakeOut coordinators, with support from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, National Science Foundation, and U.S. Geological Survey. The Great California ShakeOut is organized by the Earthquake Country Alliance, which includes California Office of Emergency Services, U.S. Geological Survey, California Earthquake Authority, American Red Cross, San Bernardino County Fire Department/Office of Emergency Services and many other organizations.