California is the highest earthquake risk area in the contiguous United States, with several large active faults that run through the state, such as the San Andreas, Hayward and others. 

Residents of Menlo Park, in particular, are located in the proximity of several smaller active faults, among them the Stanford (near San Francisquito Creek in Menlo Park through Stanford University to Page Mill Road). Several area faults could be the epicenter of destructive earthquakes in the future. With expanding technology, mobile apps and proper planning, we can better prepare for and respond to the potential damage.

Although we cannot predict when an earthquake will strike, we are able to effectively prepare for the tremblers in an effort to mitigate the potential devastating consequences that quakes leave behind. Please use the following tips to better help you and your family prepare for future tremblers.

Prepare a home earthquake plan

  • Choose a safe place in every room – under a sturdy table or desk or against an inside wall where nothing can fall on you.
  • Practice "drop, cover and hold on" at least twice a year. Drop under a sturdy desk or table, hold on, and protect your eyes by pressing your face against your arm. If there is no table or desk nearby, sit on the floor against an interior wall away from windows, bookcases or tall furniture that could fall on you. Teach children to drop, cover and hold on!
  • Choose an out-of-town family contact.
  • Consult a professional to find out additional ways you can protect your home, such as bolting the house to its foundation and other structural mitigation techniques.
  • Take a first aid class from your local Red Cross chapter or Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). Keep your training current.

Minimize hazards

  • Bolt bookcases, china cabinets and other tall furniture to wall studs.
  • Install strong latches on cupboards.
  • Strap the water heater to wall studs.

Prepare a disaster supplies kit for home and car

  • First aid kit and essential medications.
  • Canned food and can opener.
  • At least three gallons of water per person.
  • Protective clothing, rainwear and bedding/sleeping bags.
  • Battery-powered radio, flashlight and extra batteries.
  • Special items for infant, elderly or disabled family members.
  • Written instructions for how to turn off gas, electricity and water if authorities advise you to do so (remember, you'll need a professional to turn natural gas service back on).
  • A flashlight and sturdy shoes, by your bedside.

Know what to do when the shaking begins

  • Drop, cover and hold on! Move only a few steps to a nearby safe place. Stay indoors until the shaking stops and you're sure it's safe to exit. Stay away from windows. In a high-rise building, expect the fire alarms and sprinklers to go off during a quake.
  • If you are in bed, hold on and stay there, protecting your head with a pillow.
  • If you are outdoors, find a clear spot away from buildings, trees and power lines. Drop to the ground.
  • If you are in a car, slow down and drive to a clear place. Stay in the car until the shaking stops.

Identify what to do after the shaking stops

  • Check yourself for injuries. Protect yourself from further danger by putting on long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, sturdy shoes and work gloves.
  • Check others for injuries. Give first aid for serious injuries.
  • Look for and extinguish small fires. Eliminate fire hazards. Turn off the gas if you smell gas or think it's leaking (remember, only a professional should turn your gas back on).
  • Listen to the radio for instructions.
  • Expect aftershocks. Each time you feel one: drop, cover and hold on!
  • Inspect your home for damage. Get everyone out if your home is unsafe.
  • Use the telephone only to report life-threatening emergencies.

Download the free MyShake app

Don't let earthquakes catch you off guard - Sign up for free earthquake warnings.

Earthquake Warning California is managed by the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) and is the country’s first publicly available, statewide warning system. The warning system is designed to give California residents a few moments warning to take cover before shaking occurs. 
To receive earthquake warnings, Californians can download the free MyShake App, which is available in the Apple App Store and Google Play store. 
To learn more about Earthquake Warning California or for industry/business resources to help spread the word with your employees, customers, and the public, visit