Print this ArticlePlate tectonics affect the entire world and, just because you don’t think you live on a fault line, don’t expect to be safe from the ground-shaking motion of an earthquake. First off, unless you live in an old adobe house, don’t go for the doorway (unless there isn’t a door there, anyway). After the shaking has stopped, grab family, pets, and emergency supplies, and get out of the house. Another good idea for your earthquake emergency kit is a whistle or flare of some sort, something to get the attention of rescue workers in case you get trapped in the debris. No one is ever truly prepared for an earthquake, but it’s better to have something now than regret not having it later. Something everyone should know is where the water and gas mains are located and how to turn them off if necessary.

For peace of mind whether you're at home or away, the Automatic Gas Shutoff Valve will automatically stop the flow of gas to your home in the event of an earthquake. While ACWD's disaster preparedness efforts include extensive measures to protect the water system from damage resulting from earthquakes, many breaks in our water system pipelines will undoubtedly occur. You don’t know if the structure of your shelter was compromised, or if the quake caused a fracture in a gas-line. Candles may suffice for some, but an aftershock (which is inevitable after any large quake) may cause the candle to tip and start a fire. In fact, experts predict a 70% chance of a magnitude 6.7 or greater earthquake occurring in the San Francisco Bay Area within the next 30 years. In fact, the damage to ACWD’s system from a major earthquake could be so severe that the reliable supply of high quality drinking water our customers rely upon and have learned to expect could be interrupted for an extended period of time.

Make sure everyone stays hydrated, but use water you know is purified in case the water pipe leaked as well. That's why one of the most important things that you can do to get ready for an earthquake (or any other disaster) is to store an adequate amount of emergency drinking water. If you have a sturdy table, desk, or something similar, get underneath it, curl up, and put your hands over your neck and as much of your skull as possible. Many companies make crank or solar-powered radios and flashlight combinations, that also charge cell phones, but if you don’t have one of these, make sure you have extra batteries in your emergency kit.

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