Family Safety & Emergency Planning

Skip Navigation

Advanced Search

Family Safety & Emergency Planning

Earthquake Preparedness

Disaster can strike quickly and without warning. It can force you to evacuate your neighborhood, workplace or school or can confine you to your home. What would you do if basic services -- water, gas, electricity or telephones--were cut off?

The best way to stay safe is to be prepared before disaster strikes. Depending on the nature of the emergency, your local officials cannot reach everyone right away. The best way to make your family and your home safer is to be prepared before an emergency or disaster strikes.

Earthquake preparedness is essential in California. Earthquakes are inevitable, but the damage from earthquakes is not. Many people think the destruction caused by earthquakes is unavoidable, and that our only option is to pick up the pieces after the shaking stops.

Actually, almost all earthquake damages and losses can be reduced by steps you take before, during, and after. Many also think that all the damage and injuries from earthquakes comes from collapsing buildings. Again, this isn't the case. As buildings are designed better, more of the losses in earthquakes are from objects that break or fall on people causing injury.

The seven steps that follow include a range of actions to do before, during, and after earthquakes in order to be safe and reduce potential damage. For detailed information on earthquakes and how to prepare we invited you to download "Putting Down Roots In Earthquake Country (Southern California)". The seven steps to follow are:

  1. Secure it now!
  2. Make a plan.
  3. Make disaster kits.
  4. Is your place safe?
  5. Drop, cover, and hold on!
  6. Check it out!
  7. Communicate and recover!

If we all follow these steps, we may save billions of dollars and prevent countless casualties in the next large earthquake.

The State of California and the U.S. Geological Survey Earthquake Hazards Program and  offer extensive information on preparedness for your home and your family. Just follow the links for more information on preparing for an earthquake.

It is important to remember that the first 3-7 days after an earthquake are critical. Electricity, gas, water, and telephones may not be working. In addition, public safety services such as police and fire departments will be busy handling serious crises. You should be prepared to be self-sufficient—able to live without running water, electricity and/or gas, and telephones—for at least three days following a quake.

Emergency Planning for Your Family

Protect yourself and Spread the Word! Visit our Pinterest board for more information.

Official rescue teams who have been dispatched to the scene of earthquakes and other disasters around the world continue to advocate use of the internationally recognized "Drop, Cover and Hold On" protocol to protect lives during earthquakes:

  • DROP to the ground (before the earthquake drops you!),
  • Take COVER by getting under a sturdy desk or table, and
  • HOLD ON to it until the shaking stops.

Learn about Drop, Cover, Hold On from MySafeLA is a product of the Safe Community Project, a California Non-Profit organization. MySafeLA is the official fire and life safety partner of the Los Angeles City Fire Department, but is a separate organization. Visit to find out more about the San Andreas Fault and other quake research. 

The best way to stay safe is to be prepared before disaster strikes. Depending on the nature of the emergency, your local officials cannot reach everyone right away. The best way to make your family and your home safer is to be prepared before an emergency or disaster strikes.

Just like having a working smoke detector, preparing for the unexpected make sense. Get Ready Now.* provides resources for home, work and school. You can also visit Ready Kids and FEMA for Kids to prepare children in a fun and interactive way. The American Red Cross also provides a wealth of information on preparation for all types of disasters.

Four Steps for Disaster Planning

1) Make a Plan
Create a family communications plan that includes an evacuation plan and coordinates with your school, work and community communication plans. Practice this plan with your entire family.

2) Prepare a Kit
Build a disaster supplies kit that includes enough supplies for each family member for three days. Remember to check your kit every six months.

3) Shut-offs
Know where your gas, electric and water main shutoffs are and how to turn them off if there is a leak or electrical short.

4) Be Informed
Learn what disasters or emergencies may occur where you live, work and play and how they can affect you, your family and community.

Identify how authorities will notify you and how you will get important information. Learn what you can do to prepare by contacting your local chapter of the American Red Cross to ask about first aid, CPR and disaster training. In addition to having supplies on hand, every household should have a list of emergency phone numbers: doctor's daytime and evening numbers, and the nearest emergency room and poison control center. Having a copy of vaccination records on hand for every family member, as well as information about who's taking what medication, is also a good idea.

Resources are available to assist people with special needs . Along with the American Red Cross , which provides many resources and supplies for emergency preparedness, to the National Organization on Disability (NOD) there are numerous guides, tips, checklists and strategies for reaching people with disabilities as well.

If you are like millions of animal owners nationwide, your pet is an important member of your household. Keep in mind that what's best for you is typically what's best for your animals. Make a back-up emergency plan in case you can't care for your animals yourself. Preparing for your pets makes sense, is prepared by Ready.

*Ready ( is a national public service advertising campaign produced by The Advertising Council in partnership with U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The Ready Campaign is designed to educate and empower Americans to prepare for and respond to emergencies, including natural disasters and potential terrorist attacks. Individuals interested in more information about family and business preparedness can visit or call 1-800-BE-READY to receive free materials.

Bottom of Navigation

Legal & Privacy Notices


Payment Assistance

Contact Us

Hospital Accreditation

© 2014 Dignity Health

Northridge Hospital Medical Center
18300 Roscoe Blvd
Northridge, CA 91328
(818) 885-8500