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Office of Emergency Management



Is your home or workplace in a hazard zone? Visit the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) hazard tool to learn if there are earthquake, flood, fire, and tsunami hazards in your area. The site also includes the steps you can reduce your personal risk from these threats. 

MyHazards Cal OES



In Southern California, we all have a responsibility to prepare for the next earthquake.  Earthquakes can strike without warning throughout the Los Angeles region.


Earthquakes strike without warning. Now is the time to take steps to prepare for the next earthquake. Our community’s resilience depends each of us preparing our households and neighborhoods so that we can quickly recover.

Being prepared for earthquakes can be easy with these simple steps:

1. GET A KIT - We recommend that you have enough supplies to help yourself and your household for seven days.  Include food, water, bedding, medications, and any other supplies you rely on in your emergency preparedness kit.


2. MAKE A PLAN - Every household, business and organization should have an emergency plan.  Create a household communications plan, emergency meeting locations, and routes to get to the meeting places. Consider the needs of your household especially those of children, older adults, and pets. Make plans on how to handle specific medical, dietary, language needs. 


3. BE INFORMED - Sign up for SM Alerts and Santa Monica social media pages. Receive emergency messages and important community updates and share them with your neighbors.     

During an Earthquake

Drop Cover and Hold On


Drop, cover, and hold on.  During earthquakes, drop to the floor take cover under a sturdy desk or table, and hold on to it.  Be ready to move with the table until the shaking stops.  If you are not near a desk or table, drop to the floor and protect your head and neck with your arms.  Crawl towards an interior wall if you are able. Crawl towards an interior wall if you are able. Avoid exterior walls, windows, hanging objects, glass, tall furniture, large appliances, and kitchen. Stay indoors until shaking has stopped. 

In bed:

If you are in bed, stay there, protect your head with a pillow. Lie face down to protect your body. You are less likely to be injured staying where you are.

Near the beach:

Drop, cover, and hold on until the shaking stops.  When shaking starts, starting counting.  If severe shaking lasts 20 seconds or more, immediately walk quickly to high ground or inland as a tsunami may be generated by the earthquake. Walk quickly, rather than drive, to avoid traffic, debris and other hazards. Know the Santa Monica Tsunami Map and plan your evacuation route.  


Pull over to the side of the road. Stop, put the car in park and set the parking break. Avoid overpasses, bridges, power lines, signs, and other hazards. Stay inside the vehicle until shaking stops. If a power line falls on the car, stay inside until a trained person removes the wire.  

For more resources on what to do when you’re in specific locations visit

After an Earthquake...

Check for injuries:

  • If a person is bleeding, put direct pressure on the wound.  Use clean gauze or cloth, if available.
  • Check on children or others that may need assistance, such as older adults or those with a disability. 
  • Do not move critically injured persons unless they are in immediate danger.
  • Get medical help for serious injuries.
  • SAFETY FIRST: Wear medical gloves if helping someone who is bleeding. 
  • TOOLS NEEDED: Have a first aid kit stocked with gauze, bandages, etc. 

Check for damage:  

  • SAFETY FIRST: When checking for damage, wear appropriate safety equipment. Wear sturdy shoes to protect from broken glass. Wear leather gloves to protect from sharp objects. Wear a hardhat or bicycle helmet to protect from falling debris.
  • TOOLS NEEDED: Have basic tools like a flashlight, wrench, crowbar, and fire extinguisher. 
  • If possible, put out small fires immediately. 
  • Inspect the main gas valve for the smell of gas, a spinning meter, a hissing sound, or air coming from the valve. Shut off the main gas valve only if a warning sign is found. Wait for the gas company to turn it back on.
  • Shut off power at the main breaker switch if there is any sparking wires, or wires down. Unplug broken lights or appliances as they could start fires.
  • Shut off the water at the house main to keep clean water in your home. 
  • Cover spilled hazardous materials, such as bleach, and gasoline, with dirt or cat litter.
  • Stay away from chimneys or brick walls with visible cracks. Leave the building immediately if it looks like it might collapse. 

The first hours and days after the earthquake: 


  • Until you are sure there are no gas leaks, do not use open flames or operate any electrical or mechanical device that can create a spark.
  • Never use the following indoors: camp stoves, gas lanterns or heaters, gas or charcoal grills, or gas generators.  These can release deadly carbon monoxide or be a fire hazard in aftershocks.
  • Don’t use a fireplace with a damaged chimney. 
  • Use battery powered flashlights and lanterns after an earthquake, not candles. If an aftershock occurs, a candle could start a fire.


  • Stay tuned to local radio on your battery operated device or car for information and safety advisories. City of Santa Monica’s local station is 1680AM.
  • If power is off, plan meals to use up refrigerated and frozen foods first. Keep the refrigerator door closed to keep food safe longer. Throw out all food that may be spoiled or contaminated
  • Text your out-of-state contact to tell them your status. Then save phone calls and text messages for emergencies. 


  • If your water is off or unsafe, you can drink from water heaters, melted ice cubes, or canned vegetables.
  • Avoid drinking water from pools or spas.
  • Listen for and follow safety advisories. 


  • Work as a team and check on the condition of your neighbors and their homes, especially those that may need extra assistance.
  • Develop a Neighborhood Gathering Site to pass along or learn information about the incidents and to coordinate assistance or repairs.
  • It may be beneficial to create a Neighborhood Care Center where those that require assistance or do not want to be alone after the event can seek care and comfort.



  • Do not leave home just because utilities are out or your home and its contents have suffered minor or moderate damage. Leave immediately if the building looks like it may collapse.
  • Don’t drive unless there is an emergency. Keep streets clear for emergency vehicles.
  • Report damage to your local building department and to your local office of emergency services.
  • Do not enter damaged buildings
  • If you evacuate, text your out-of-state contact and tell a neighbor so they can notify your friends and family. 





For more information regarding actions to take during an earthquake go to 

You can learn more about earthquakes by visiting the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS.GOV) website.


City of Santa Monica © 2020

200 Santa Monica Pier, Suite J, Santa Monica, CA 90401