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When an Earthquake Strikes, Will Your Family Be Ready? Take Time During California Earthquake Preparedness Month to Shake-Proof Your Home and Business

Experts say it's a matter of when not if the next earthquake strikes

OAKLAND, Calif., April 8, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- After 23 years of studying the science and impacts of earthquakes, Megan Stanton knows two important facts every Californian should remember - there will be strong earthquakes every year, and there are ways to prepare in advance to keep you and your family safe.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PRNewsfoto/Pacific Gas and Electric Company)
Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PRNewsfoto/Pacific Gas and Electric Company)

"Computer models and historical data show that we have a chance of at least a magnitude 6 earthquake every year. Those earthquakes are not always in populated areas, but they happen every year on average. The key to remember is that we can't predict when or where those earthquakes will happen, so it's important to prepare now," said Stanton, a Geosciences Expert for Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E).

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Stanton and her colleagues monitor a variety of risks every day, from earthquakes and other ground movement to volcanic activity and tsunamis. Their work helps keep utility workers safe on the job and helps restore customers after disasters strike. It can also help coworkers keep themselves and their families safe.

"The biggest risk of injury we see from large earthquakes is from people not taking cover. Instead, they run for cover and risk being hurt by flying objects or from debris falling if they run outside. The safest thing to do when you receive an alert of feel shaking, is to take cover immediately. Taking cover will look different depending on where you're located (e.g. movie theater, car, park, bed, office)," Stanton said.

To keep you and your family safe, take these steps now:

  • Take the Federal Emergency Management Agency Home Hazard Hunt to identify hazards in your home such as heavy furniture that may fall during a quake.

  • Secure hazards with earthquake straps or fasteners.

  • Create a disaster plan for your family and decide how you will communicate at the first sign of an earthquake, tsunami, or other emergency.

  • Organize disaster supplies in convenient locations.

Stanton said once you take those initial steps, it's important to practice emergency response in your home.

"Practice now, so that when an earthquake strikes, you will know what to do," Stanton said.

Take advantage of technology to be prepared

Stanton said she encourages everyone to download the MyShake App for their phone, and sign up for emergency alerts.

"While we cannot predict earthquakes, there is technology that allows you to receive early warnings when an earthquake happens. Those warnings may give you time to take cover and stay safe.

When an earthquake hits, follow these tips:

  • Drop, cover and hold on, or sit on a chair or bed and cover your head and neck with both hands, a book or even a pillow.

  • If you use a walker, lock the wheels and then cover your head and neck.

  • If you are in a recliner or on a bed, don't try to move. Instead, cover your head and neck until the shaking stops.

To learn more about preparing for an earthquake, visit PG&E's Safety Action Center to learn how to:

About PG&E

Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is a combined natural gas and electric utility serving more than 16 million people across 70,000 square miles in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit pge.com and pge.com/news.

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SOURCE Pacific Gas and Electric Company