Prepare for An Emergency/Earthquake

Have a Family Emergency Communication Plan

There has been an earthquake and a power outage in your area. Your children are at school, your spouse at their office and cell phone service is jammed. How will you know if everyone is alright? What should you do next?

Creating a Family Emergency Communication Plan helps you answer those questions. You can create this in 5 simple steps.


Sign-up for city, county and/or state emergency alert systems to receive information via text. You can also download apps that provide similar information. In California try Specially designed for earthquake information, you can try or EarthquakeAlert at


Create a paper copy (cell phones and computers may be unreliable during an emergency) of contact information for your family and other important people or offices. Think about schools, doctors, medical facilities or other service providers. You may also consider putting a phone number for a family member or friend living outside of your state. If you are having trouble reaching each other locally, everyone can try to check in with that contact person who can pass on information. At, you can complete a Family Emergency Communication Plan on-line and print it out in a wallet sized card that will easily fit into purses, wallets and backpacks for everyone to carry.


Learn about the earthquake plans for your children’s school or daycare. Keep your children’s school emergency release form current.


Choose a safe place outside of your home to meet your family members after the shaking stops. Keep shoes and a flashlight near everyone’s beds for a quick exit! Consider having emergency whistles or code words if someone gets trapped and needs help.


Have regular family meetings where you talk about your plan in case of an emergency. Base your plans on the members of your family, such as the age of your children, or members with special needs, or mobility challenges. Depending on your children’s school’s emergency plan, talk about who will go to the school to pick up children, or where your family should meet if your home cannot be occupied.

Putting these 5 simple steps into practice will benefit your family in an emergency. But having a plan when the shaking starts, is not enough. It is just as important to prepare food and supplies that you will need in an emergency. Next week we will cover what you will need to create an emergency kit.

For additional resources to help you prepare, please follow the links below:

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