Earthquakes in Everyday Spaces


As April is Earthquake Preparedness Month comes to a close, it’s important to remember that not all emergencies happen at home. In particular, earthquakes can happen at any time, so the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) strives to help Californians to plan, prepare, survive and recover wherever a disaster hits.

That’s why knowing what to do when an earthquake hits your community is essential because it’s not if but when it happens.

It’s important to remain aware of your surroundings, while running errands or enjoying a day out in your community. You could be shopping, traveling, enjoying a concert or attending a sporting event. Don’t forget – when shaking occurs – DROP, COVER, and HOLD ON.

Inside a Location:

  • Be aware of the entrances and exits, in and out of a location
  • Stay inside until shaking stops
  • Avoid doorways

Public Transportation:

  • Be aware of local transportation evacuation plans after shaking stops
  • For Example: Some transportation services will monitor for seismic activity and will automatically reduce speeds or will stop services all together.


  • Pull over and stop
  • Set the parking brake


  • Stay outdoors
  • Stay away from buildings



To receive automated earthquake warnings, there are three ways for individuals and families to get alerts through the California Earthquake Early Warning System. The alerts can be received on devices while you’re away from home.

  • MyShake App: Free smartphone app that provides iPhone users with audio and visual warnings, available in both English and Spanish.
  • Android Earthquake Alerts: Android phones with updated operating systems are automatically subscribed to Android Earthquake Alerts, which uses the same technology as the MyShake App; and
  • Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs): No-cost text messages for emergency situations sent through the nation-wide system providing lifesaving information for the State of California

For more information about planning, preparedness and recovery regarding earthquakes, go to: