The Top: Four Ways to Prepare for an Earthquake

David Oglesby, professor of geophysics, shares his tips for earthquake safety

David Oglesby (right), professor of geophysics and an organizer of the ShakeOut event on campus, explains earthquake stresses to a UCR student. Photo credit: UCR Strategic Communications

Welcome to The Top!

Each issue, we present a list of UCR staff and faculty favorites — from walking spots to gardens to events.

This week, we partnered with David Oglesby, professor of geophysics, to list the best ways to prepare for an earthquake.

“Large earthquakes in Southern California are inevitable,” he said. “Unfortunately, there is no way to forecast when they will happen, so it is is everyone’s responsibility to be prepared for an earthquake every day.”

Here are Oglesby’s top tips to ready yourself for future earthquakes:

1. Participate in Earthquake Drills

Drop, cover, and hold on is the best course of action during an earthquake.

Drop, cover, and hold on is the best course of action during an earthquake.

Oglesby recommends that “we should all take part in earthquake drills so that we can practice ‘drop, cover and hold on’ until it becomes second nature when the ground starts to shake.”

There’s an opportunity to rehearse your “drop, cover and hold on” on Oct. 15 in the Great California ShakeOut drill. The event starts at 10:15 a.m. and is designed to prepare Californians for any upcoming major earthquakes. Although participation is voluntary, UC Riverside is urging all students, faculty and staff to take part in the two-minute long exercise.

2. Prepare Your Homes and Work Areas

By bolting heavy furniture to walls, having cupboard doors that latch and cannot fly open and securing water heaters so they do not break loose, our living and work environments are secure ahead of time. Putting it simply, Oglesby says, “items in your house that could be dangerous should be tied down!”

3. Have an Earthquake Kit Ready

Everyone should have an earthquake kit that provides all one needs to survive for three or more days after an earthquake. Remember roads and other lifelines may be damaged or destroyed in a large earthquake so every individual needs to be self-reliant for potentially multiple days. Oglesby lists food, medical supplies, water, emergency blankets and hygiene supplies as essential items that should be included in any earthquake emergency kit. He cites as a resource where a detailed description of what should be in an earthquake kit can be found. Oglesby also advises, “If you don’t feel you have much time to put [a kit] together, don’t be ashamed to buy a pre-packed earthquake kit, as long as it truly has the essential items.” And do not forget to have multiple kits–one in your car, home and even office! In an event of an earthquake, you may trapped away from home by damaged road so it is best to be self-sufficient wherever you go.

4. Stay Prepared and Do Not Panic

Oglesby states that “above all, do not panic—before, during, or after an earthquake! By preparing well ahead of time, and acting appropriately during and after the earthquake, you can help prevent a damaging earthquake from becoming a disaster!” A family plan is a great idea to stay prepared. “Every family should have a plan for where they will meet up in case of an earthquake,” said Oglesby. “Since communications may be down in the immediate area, it also helps to have a designated family member or friend who does not live locally act as a communications resource. Family members can inform him/her where they are and how they are doing, and this information can then be passed to others as they check in.”

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Media Contact

Tel: (951) 827-2645

Additional Contacts

David Oglesby
E-mail: david.oglesby@ucr.du

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