Earthquake Preparedness

California is one of the most likely places for an earthquake to strike in the country, and San Luis Obispo has had its share of earthquakes in the past. Here’s a primer on what to do before and during an earthquake.

Before an Earthquake

  • Be familiar with your common environments: your office, classroom, or home. Know how and where to take cover during a quake.
  • Secure top-heavy furniture, bookcases or cabinets to walls. Department should contact Facility Services to perform this work or, if doing it themselves, obtain a campus building permit.
  • Secure cabinet doors with latches.
  • Do not store heavy objects where they may fall on people.
  • Move tall bookcases away from exits and do not use them as room dividers.
  • Store heavy items at floor level.
  • Back up computer and other research data and store elsewhere on a regular basis.
  • Determine beforehand the nearest exit from your work, residence, or classroom area and the route to reach that exit following an emergency, if necessary. Also, establish an alternate route to use if the first route is blocked or dangerous.
  • Review the campus Chemical Hygiene Plan for specific seismic safety guidelines of hazardous materials (Chemical Hygiene Plan).

When an Earthquake Occurs

  • Drop, cover, and hold on.
  • Remain calm. Take cover: under a desk, table or chair; between seating rows in classrooms; against a corridor wall; outdoors, away from falling hazards. DO NOT take cover in a doorway.
  • Stay away from glass windows, wall shelves and heavy equipment.
  • Remain where you are. Do not run outside and do not evacuate until after tremors cease. Falling debris may cause injury.
  • Evacuate carefully. Do not use elevators.
  • Listen to emergency authorities.
  • Take any emergency supplies you may have.
  • Give first aid to anyone injured or seek someone who can. Do not move the victim unless necessary to prevent further injury.
  • Tune battery-powered radio to the Emergency Alert System for news and instructions (920 AM, 1400 AM, and 98.1 FM).
  • Expect aftershocks.
  • Restore calm, assist others.
  • Report damage to Building Coordinator and Department Head. Do not touch anything that has been damaged until the damage has been assessed and recorded (videotaped or photographed by Facility Services or Facilities Planning & Capital Projects staff only).
  • Do not enter any area where hazardous materials are stored until area has been inspected by authorized personnel.
  • Do not go into or return to a damaged building unless instructed by authorized personnel.
  • Await instructions, be patient, help others.