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School Planner
Individual, Family, Home and Community Planner
Apartment/Mobile Home Planner
Earthquake Preparedness for People with Disabilities

School Planner

Schools, day care centers and colleges need to prepare for a major damaging earthquake. In such an event, school administrators and teachers will have to be self-sufficient--relying on their own resources to protect and care for the student population and the immediate surrounding communities until outside assistance is available. The California Education Code requires public and private schools, K-12, to develop emergency plans and to conduct "drop, cover and hold" drills. However, our schoolchildren and their families need more information and education on earthquake safety and preparedness measures.

Your school can take part in this unique and important public education campaign in April and throughout the year by:
    • Conducting a school drill to test emergency plans and procedures. Make sure you test communications systems, evacuation plans, search and rescue activities and first aid techniques. (For planning assistance, contact your city or county Office of Emergency Services.)
    • Securing and anchoring school equipment and furniture --including bookshelves, cabinets, computers and typewriters--that may present a threat during an earthquake.
    • Encouraging all school staff and students to prepare an earthquake emergency plan for their families.
    • Sending information home for parents on the school's emergency policies and procedures.
    • Updating information on "emergency notification cards."
    • Conducting in-service training workshops on first aid, shelter management, damage assessment and other related topics for school staff.
    • Dedicating a special class or school assembly to the effects of earthquakes and the importance of proper preparation.
    • Displaying preparedness information at high traffic areas in your school.
    • Conducting a hazard hunt in classrooms and offices.
    • Assembling emergency kits which include important safety information and first aid supplies.
    • Planning a "field trip" to an earthquake preparedness exhibit near your school.
    • Conducting fundraising activities to raise monies to purchase earthquake preparedness supplies and equipment.

California Earthquake Preparedness Month provides an opportunity for teachers, principals, staff, students, parents, and community leaders to "BEAT THE QUAKE.


If a major earthquake struck in your area today, you might be without direct assistance for up to 72 hours. Are you prepared to be self-sufficient? Is your family? Your neighborhood?

Individual and Family Preparedness
    • Know the safe spots in each room--under sturdy tables, desks or against inside walls.
    • Know the danger spots--windows, mirrors, hanging objects, fireplaces, tall furniture.
    • Conduct practice drills. Physically place yourself and your children in safe locations.
    • Learn first aid and CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) from your local Red Cross Chapter or other community organization.
    • Decide where your family will reunite if separated.
    • Keep a list of emergency phone numbers.
    • Choose an out-of-state friend or relative whom family members can call after the quake to report whereabouts and conditions.

Home Preparedness
    • Learn how to shut off gas, water and electricity in case the lines are damaged.
    • Check chimneys, roofs and wall foundations for stability. Make sure your home is bolted to its foundation. Call a licensed contractor if there are any questions.
    • Secure water heater and appliances that could move enough to rupture utility lines.
    • Keep breakable and heavy objects on lower shelves.
    • Secure hanging plants and heavy picture frames or mirrors (especially those hanging over beds).
    • Put latches on cabinet doors to keep them closed during shaking.
    • Keep flammable or hazardous liquids such as paints, pest sprays or cleaning products in cabinets or secured on lower shelves.
    • Maintain emergency food, water and other supplies, including medicine, first aid kit and clothing.

Community Preparedness
    • Suggest that local organizations of which you are a member undertake a specific preparedness program or acquire special training to be of assistance in the event of a damaging earthquake.
    • Organize a neighborhood earthquake preparedness program.
    • Conduct training for neighborhood residents in preparedness, first aid, fire suppression, damage assessment and search and rescue.
    • Develop self-help networks between families and neighborhood through a skills and resource bank which includes a listing of tools, equipment, materials and neighborhood members who have special skills and resources to share.
    • Identify neighbors who have special needs or will require special assistance.
    • Have neighbors agree to hang a white flag out after the quake if everyone and everything is OK.


Know Your Environment

Safest place in the house:
    During an earthquake, stay away from heavy furniture, appliances, large panes of glass, shelves holding heavy objects, and masonry veneer (such as the fireplace). These items tend to fall or break and can injure you. Usually, a hallway is one of the safest places if it is not crowded with objects. Kitchens and garages tend to be the most dangerous. Also know the safest place in each room. It will be difficult to move from one place to another during a severe earthquake.

Exits and alternative exits:
    Always know the possible ways to exit your house and workplace in emergency situations.

Location of shutoff valves:
    Know the location of the shutoff valves for water, gas, and electricity, and how to operate the valves. If you are not sure, contact your utility company.

Make Special Provisions

Elderly, disabled, or persons under medication:
    These people may have difficulty moving around after an earthquake. Plan to have someone help them to evacuate if necessary. Also, they may need special foods or medication. Be sure to store several days supply of these special provisions.

Persons who don't speak English:
    People who cannot speak English often rely on their family or friends for information. If they are separated during an earthquake, they may need help. Prepare emergency cards written in English indicating identification, address and any special needs.

    After an earthquake, you should be concerned with your own safety before taking care of your pets. Storing extra food and water for pets is always a good idea. Keep them in a secure place at home after an earthquake. If you are evacuated, they will not be allowed at the emergency shelter.

Know Community Resources

Police and fire:
    Know the locations of the nearest fire and police station.

Shelter and medical care:
    After a damaging earthquake, emergency shelters and temporary medical centers will be set up in your community. Contact your local Office of Emergency Services to find out the plans for your area.

Community plans:
    Know your neighbors and their skills; you may be able to help each other after an earthquake. Also know where to go to help your community after a disast^er. It may be days before outside emergency assistance arrives. It is important to help each other.

Plan to Meet

Plan to reunite:
    Make a plan on where and how to reunite family members. Choose a person outside the immediate area to contact if family members are separated. Long distance phone service will probably be restored sooner than local service. Remember, don't use the phone immediately after an earthquake, and make local calls only for emergencies.

Plan for children:
    Know the policies of the school or daycare center your children attend. Make plans to have someone pick them up if, after an earthquake, you are unable to do so.

Plan Responsibilities
    There will be many things to take care of after an earthquake. Make a plan with your family, friends, and neighbors assigning specific responsibilities to each person. Remember that it may be difficult to get around after an earthquake, so each person's task should be related to where he/she may be.


A major earthquake can damage apartment complexes and mobile home parks, and can injure or kill residents.

The following steps should be taken by owners or managers:
    • Consult local building codes to ensure that your building meets current seismic safety standards.
    • Develop an emergency plan for your building or mobile home park. This plan should include measures for storing water and food, obtaining first aid training, appointing floor or area leaders, conducting drills and other such activities.
    • Encourage mobile home residents to better secure their homes by leaving wheels on homes rather than removing them, installing structural support bracing systems and securing the coach's awnings. (A list of state certified bracing systems is available from the State Department of Housing and Community Development.)
    • Provide tenants with information on how to secure furniture and other household items. Also provide them with information on what to do during and after an earthquake.
    • Encourage tenants to develop individual family plans for shutting off damaged utilities, reuniting family members and evacuation, if necessary.
    • Identify residents with special needs--such as mobility impaired, non-English speaking, elderly, or hearing and sight impaired--and make sure their needs are addressed in your emergency plans.
    • Organize teams that are responsible for first aid, search and rescue, communications and firefighting. Compile a list of resources and skills available among your tenants.
    • Provide tenants with a white flag or some other distinguishable sign to be posted after an earthquake if no one in the apartment or mobile home has suffered serious InJuries.
    • Practice earthquake drills in your complex or park.
    • Find out and inform your tenants where the nearest mass shelter area is located.
    • Organize a meeting at which a local emergency and disaster planner can provide information on earthquake preparedness.



Develop a "buddy" system with family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers. Plan how you will help each other in an emergency. If you live alone, you may wish to give your buddy a key to your home. Make a list of your medications, allergies, special equipment, names, addresses, and telephone numbers of your doctor, pharmacy, family members, friends, and any other important information. Give a copy to each buddy, and keep a copy with you at all times.


Eliminate hazards in your home. Securely anchor medical equipment, heavy appliances, bookcases, hanging plants, and other items. Place heavy objects on low shelves. Move beds away from windows. Check hallways, exits, doorways, and other areas and remove hazards and obstructions which may impede your safe exit after an earthquake. Install security night lights to provide emergency lighting if power is interrupted. Gather emergency supplies. Assemble a 72-hour emergency supply kit, which includes water, any special diet foods, sanitary aids, cooking and eating utensils, flashlight, radio, blankets, a change of clothing, and a whistle for signaling for assistance. Include a well-stocked first aid kit, with extra prescription medications and an extra pair of glasses. Store extra batteries for hearing aids, wheelchairs, and other battery-operated equipment. Keep a mini-survival kit in your car.


If you are deaf or hearing-impaired, keep a batteryoperated television on hand, with fresh batteries, for receiving emergency information if power is out. Store flashlight, pencil, and pad for communicating. Arrange for hearing friends or coworkers to relay information broadcast by radio. If you are blind or have impaired vision, keep extra canes in strategic areas around your home. Plan alternate evacuation routes from home and office. Store extra pet food and supplies for your guide dog.

Last Revised March 7, 1997

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