Teaching Kids Earthquake Safety


Is Your Family Ready for the Big One?

Here’s a question for you: Do your kids know basic earthquake safety? Specifically and with confidence? I live in Southern California in “earthquake country”. (yay, us!) I got the inspiration to write this when I overheard another mom casually say, “I think they teach earthquake safety in school.”

Wait. You think? What if the earthquake happens over the summer? What if your kids aren’t in school yet? If “the big one” hits while they are sleeping, how would they respond? Would you know how to help them? Do you know the safest spot(s) in your home? The most dangerous?

While I was editing the video below, we literally had a relatively large earthquake. Talk about timely!   They can happen anytime.

If you have children it’s YOUR JOB to teach them. Not the schools. In large classroom settings, kids are taught “get under your desk“. Do you have desks at home? Would they know where to go at home? If you have younger kids (not yet in school), would they know what to do?

If you answered “no” to at least one of those questions, keep reading. There’s a quick 7-minute video at the end with a cheat sheet.

It’s Not Just California

While California has the most damaging quakes, there are 15 other states with frequent earthquakes:

  • Alaska
  • Arkansas
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Kentucky
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • Oregon
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Utah
  • Washington
  • Wyoming

Washington and Oregon, while not at the top of the latest list, are both capable of suffering catastrophic damage in mega-quakes that could near or exceed magnitude 9.0. Do you live in these hot-spot areas? What does your community have in place for preparedness and education?

I worked in the public sector for nearly 14 years in various capacities. It’s shocking how many people completely ignore pleas from their local officials to “get ready”.

First responders should NOT BE your first line of defense.

Now is the time to get ready.  Is your family ready?

Every Home is Different

I enjoyed so much writing this article because it forced me to evaluate my own home and emergency procedures. We have an open floor plan with only one table. Since the ideal shelter is under a sturdy table or desk, I needed to find alternate safe spots in every room. Children (and adults) need to DROP, COVER and HOLD, regardless of where you are. But if possible, you need to move to a safer spot. These spots need to be identified today. I explain how to find these locations in the video below.

Why Earthquake Safety is important:

  • If you are prepared, you can reintroduce calmness into your home (and children’s environment) faster.
  • You can help others and your community faster
  • You can save significant money having necessary supplies prepared
  • You can provide for YOUR family when water and utilities are inaccessible

The video below outlines specific (and fun) ways parents can teach earthquake safety. There’s also a cheat sheet on how to implement your own earthquake drill “family night”.

Where to Start

Are you overwhelmed and not sure where to start? Watch the video below and here’s a handout on practicing an Earthquake Drill with Young Kids.

More Resources

The Earthquake Country Alliance has a great handout for caretakers of infants and young children. It includes tips on how to protect multiple children and the safest way to hold infants during the shaking.

Now – take a few minutes and watch the video below.   It shows (with detail) how I taught my children and how to find “safe spots” in your home.

Please let me know what you think! Was this information helpful? Have you done earthquake drills with your kids?