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October 2019

Remembering Loma Prieta

What Have We Learned?

On October 17, 1989, the Loma Prieta Earthquake shook Northern California, changing lives and wreaking havoc. The main quake lasted only fifteen seconds, but it resulted in extensive damage, thousands of injuries, and more than 60 deaths. 

The epicenter of the 6.9-magnitude earthquake was in the Santa Cruz Mountains, near a peak called Loma Prieta. Our county was especially hard hit, with parts of Santa Cruz and Watsonville decimated, and there was major damage throughout the Bay Area. A section of the Bay Bridge collapsed, along with buildings and highway overpasses, gas lines were ruptured, and large fires broke out.

During the month of October organizations throughout the county will present exhibits, tours, educational events, and discussions to mark the 30th anniversary of the earthquake and honor the spirit of community that rose in response.

A wide range of events featuring art, stories, science, and history, plus informative presentations about community preparedness and safety is being hosted by The Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History, Santa Cruz County Libraries, and the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History. You will also find walking tours and a family-friendly Anniversary Pop-Up at Abbott Square. Click here for listings and information.

And mark your calendar to join us on October 13 for the Loma Prieta +30 Emergency Preparedness and Safety Event. The Santa Cruz County Office of Emergency Services, The American Red Cross, PG&E, the Santa Cruz Fire Department, and the Santa Cruz Police Department invite you to this free event at the Civic Center from noon to 4:00 pm. Learn how to be prepared and safe, see historical photos, and enjoy light refreshments.

The Seven Steps to Earthquake Safety

As we commemorate the 30th anniversary of this event that changed lives and landscapes in Santa Cruz, we look to the future, knowing that a quake like this could happen again. In addition to increased knowledge and investment in strengthened buildings and infrastructure, we have learned that there are important steps for individuals, families, businesses, and communities to take to survive and recover from big earthquakes.

Click here and on each step for information and resources.


1. Secure Your Space
From water heaters to windows, and everything in between, identify hazards and secure moveable items.

2. Plan to Be Safe
Create a disaster plan and decide how you will communicate in an emergency.

3. Organize Disaster Supplies
Have personal disaster supplies kits at home, at work, and in your vehicle, and have a household disaster supplies kit in an easily accessible location at home.

4. Minimize Financial Hardship
Organize important documents, strengthen your property, and consider insurance.


5. Drop, Cover, and Hold On
Learn and practice what to do during an earthquake, whether at home, work, school, or traveling.

6. Improve Safety
Evacuate if necessary after an earthquake, help the injured, and prevent further injuries or damage.


7. Reconnect and Recover
Restore daily life by reconnecting with others, repairing damage, and rebuilding community.


Join us for the Great California ShakeOut!

Participating in the Great California Shakeout is a great way for you, your family, or organization to prepare to survive and recover from a big earthquake. Click here to be included in the 2019 Great California Shakeout!

  • Learn how you, your family, and your co-workers can be better prepared to survive and recover quickly from our next big earthquake.
  • Help motivate others to participate and prepare
  • Be counted
  • Be listed with other participants in our County (optional)

Join with us on October 17 when individuals, as well as schools, colleges and universities, healthcare facilities, senior facilities, and other organizations in Santa Cruz County will practice the Drop, Cover, and Hold On  method of self-protection during Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills. 

Learn More!

Staying Safe Where the Earth Shakes: Central Coast Edition
Most people in the Central Coast area live less than 15 miles from a fault that can have a damaging earthquake. As with the Loma Prieta Earthquake, the most frequent large earthquakes that affect our region occur along the San Andreas Fault. Numerous other faults are capable of producing moderate magnitude (but still damaging) earthquakes.


Additional Resources:

Find extensive tips and resources on
Watch 10 Ways to Survive an Earthquake
Find information and resources for everyone who lives, works, or travels in earthquake country from the Earthquake Country Alliance 

How Will You Get Emergency Alerts and Warnings?

CodeRED, the regional reverse 911 emergency notification service for Santa Cruz County, keeps residents informed and prepared in the event of an emergency. Examples of notices include evacuation notices, bio-terrorism alerts, missing person reports, and severe weather alerts. Cell (mobile) phones and VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) phones must be registered to receive alertsClick here to register. Note: Traditional landline telephones are already in the notification system.

And now available as an app for your phone!
The CodeRED Mobile Alert app provides advanced, real-time, location-specific alerts to keep residents and visitors informed and safe as they travel across the United States and Canada. Messages can include text and audio and feature a map with the location of the warning area.

Click here to download the CodeRED Mobile Alert app for either iOS or Android.

Nixle is a free notification service that keeps you up-to-date about emergency weather events, road closings, public safety advisories, disasters, and other relevant information from public safety departments and schools. Click here to sign up for alerts from local agencies.                                                                  If you live or work in different counties, or if you have relatives or friends in other areas from which you want to receive information, you can sign up for alerts in other areas.

My Santa Cruz County
Download the app to report local issues such as potholes, abandoned vehicles, trash, dead deer, and environmental health complaints.
You can also register to vote, view or pay property tax bills, explore the county’s parks system, and conduct other business.

Be prepared--download the FEMA app for your mobile phone for free in the App Store and Google Play. Learn what to do before, during and after emergencies with safety tips and receive weather alerts from the National Weather Service for up to five different locations anywhere in the United States. Get safety reminders and customize your emergency checklist.

Click the images below for resources and information.

Resources in other languages

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