Seven Steps to Earthquake Safety

The Earthquake Country Alliance has worked with experts in earthquake science, preparedness, and mitigation to develop this step-by-step guide for staying safe before, during, and after an earthquake.

Start with the simple tips within each step and then build on your accomplishments. For example, in Step 1 you can move heavy, unsecured objects from top shelves onto lower ones. This will only take minutes to complete! A simple action in Step 4 is to call your agent to learn about earthquake insurance options. To practice how to be safe during earthquakes (Step 5) you can register to participate in Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills.

For California, the Seven Steps are also featured within the Staying Safe Where the Earth Shakes booklets, available in English, Spanish, and Chinese (statewide) and 10 regional versions.


Before the next big earthquake we recommend these four steps that will make you, your family, or your workplace better prepared to survive and recover quickly:

Step 1:
Secure your space by identifying hazards and securing moveable items.
Drawing of two people securing a bookshelf and water heater to prevent them from falling in an earthquake
Step 2:
Plan to be safe by creating your emergency plan and deciding how you will communicate.
Drawing of a family discussing their emergency plan at a dining table
Step 3:
Organize emergency supplies in convenient locations.
Drawing of a parent and child organizing emergency supplies in a backpack and a larger container
Step 4:
Minimize financial hardship by organizing important documents, strengthening your property, and considering insurance coverage.
Drawing of a couple discussing their financial preparedness, while workers retrofit the foundation of their home
Survive And Recover

During the next big earthquake, and immediately after, is when your level of preparedness will make a difference in how you and others survive and can respond to emergencies:

Step 5:
Drop, Cover, and Hold On or other recommended actions such as Lock (wheels), Cover, and Hold On – if you feel shaking or get an alert.
Drawing of a family protecting themselves during an earthquake, under a table and in a wheelchair
Step 6:
Improve safety after earthquakes by evacuating if necessary, helping the injured, and preventing further injuries or damage.
Drawing of people after a quake cleaning up debris, helping the injured, and moving to high ground in case of tsunami.

After the immediate threat of the earthquake has passed, your level of preparedness will determine your quality of life in the weeks and months that follow:

Step 7:
Reconnect and Restore daily life by reuniting with others, repairing damage, and rebuilding community.
Drawing of people reconnecting with family, repairing a damaged window, and reopening a school