According to the U.S. Geological Survey, Southern California faces a 75% chance of a magnitude 7.0 earthquake within the next few decades. The odds of this happening are at least one percent each year. Such a quake will be violent, frightening, and destructive. It will probably damage and disrupt our water systems, sewage systems, electrical and gas utilities, telephone communications, transportation and supply systems. For days and weeks and even months, it may become a challenge to obtain needed goods and services. Unfortunately, too many are unprepared for any of this.
See: Probability of an Earthquake in the Los Angeles Region
Prepare your family
Set aside essential emergency supplies:
Check your home for potential risks
Check school emergency policy
Post a message on the front door indicating where you can be found. Take with you:
Leave pets confined, if possible with food and water, if you are going to a site which does not accept animals.
The ShakeOut Earthquake Scenario
Be prepared for aftershocks
Gas: Do not turn off the gas unless you smell or see a leak. Inspect for leaks by smell only. Do not use candles or matches. Do not turn on electrical switches or appliances. If you smell gas, shut off the main valve and open all windows and doors.
Electricity/Water: If lines are damaged (frayed wires, sparks, smell of hot insulation, water leaks), turn off system at main fuse box or valve.
DO NOT turn on gas or electricity again until the utility company has first checked your home.
After a severe earthquake, essential services such as police, fire, and paramedics may not be able to respond to the needs of your neighborhood for at least 24 hours or more. Normal supplies of food and water may be unavailable. Telephones may not work. Transportation and utility systems may be damaged.
Community preparedness begins with an awareness of your community's earthquake hazards and available resources. Meet and find out who has the skills that will be useful before and after an earthquake. Identify who may need particular help after an earthquake, including the disabled, those with special medical needs, older persons, mothers with nursing infants, unattended children, and non-English speaking neighbors.
Much of the above material was from the County of Los Angeles pamphlet "You and Your Family Can Survive an Earthquake By Knowing What to Do Before, During, After a Major Earthquake."
-- A Comprehensive Guide to Family Preparedness by City of L.A. Emergency Management Department
-- Staying Safe Where the Earth Shakes - Southern California Coast Edition by Earthquake Country Alliance.
Also see: Significant Earthquakes in Los Angeles County