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It isn’t a matter of IF, but WHEN

Be Prepared for the Big One

Knowing what to do could save your life

kids ducking and covering under table


Earthquakes happen without warning. You need to know what to do when the next one strikes. The minute the ground starts to shake:

  • DROP to the ground
  • COVER your head and the back of your neck, or
  • take COVER beneath a sturdy piece of furniture like a desk, and
  • HOLD ON to that piece of furniture until the shaking stops

Practice makes perfect; practice makes permanent. Make sure to practice DROP, COVER, and HOLD ON once a month with your family and classmates or colleagues.

It isn’t a matter of IF, but WHEN.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) estimates that Southern California has a 99.7% chance of experiencing a large, destructive earthquake in the next 30 years. 99.7%. It’s hard to get more likely than that.

Geologists have identified dozens of dangerous fault lines that run near and even underneath the City of Los Angeles. Many of them are capable of producing widespread damage if they rupture. And these are only the faults we know about. In 1994, when the Northridge Earthquake struck, killing at 57 people, and injuring another 8,700, it occurred on a fault scientists didn’t even know existed.

If the southern end of the region’s largest fault, the San Andreas, ruptures (and it is more than 170 years overdue for just such an “adjustment”) experts predict there will be over 1,600 fires within the LA city limits within minutes. If a 6.6 earthquake were to strike in Hollywood, there is concern the entire area including the Hollywood Hills would be destroyed by fire. When this happens, the fire department and other life saving agencies will be overwhelmed. They’ll have no choice but to respond to the largest, most crucial emergency calls, which means the vast majority of us will only have ourselves and each other to rely upon.


Dr. Lucy Jones formerly from the USGS and now founder of the Lucy Jones Center for Science and Society says Los Angeles isn’t ready for a major earthquake. The next big earthquake will:

  • Impact as many as 10 million people
  • Injure of kill as many as 11,000 people
  • Cause $20 billion in damages
  • Effect major infrastructures for months, including water, power, Internet, and telephone

As Dr. Jones says, “everyone needs to store more water, and they need to learn how to use a fire extinguisher.”

Our earthquake materials are designed to help you prepare for the “Big One” and help you survive once the shaking stops. Click on the links to the right. Make use of the materials here and learn to be QuakeSmart:LA!

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